Ask a Foodie: Moringa leaves, seaweed, spinach and potatoes are among the most protein-rich vegetables

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By: Geoff Lesar
glesar@flavor574.com

RustyClark / Flikr Creative Commons

For a dose of energy, pass on processed sugars and plan for protein.

Jenny Weaver, owner of The Moringa Tree in Elkhart, is dedicated to educating others as a natural health and nutritional counselor. Located at 300 E. Jackson Blvd., Weaver’s café shares the name of her favorite protein-packed produce item.

Ask a Foodie features local experts answering reader-submitted questions regarding all things food, nutrition and cooking. Each week, readers are able to vote for their favorite head-scratcher.

This week’s question is from Cheryl: “I know beans are full of protein, but what vegetables have the most protein?”

“The moringa is my super food that outdoes any super-food,” Weaver said. “Just the plant itself, it’s got more vitamins and minerals than any other plant, and it has all the essential amino acids, which are very uncommon in plants. And even to have that much protein in a plant source is uncommon. You’re looking at something with seven times the Vitamin C in oranges, ya know? We think of iron being heavy in spinach, well, the moringa tree has more than that.”

According to a website dedicated to the “tree of life,” moringa leaves are composed of about 40 percent protein and believed to have the highest ratio of protein content of any plant on Earth.

Moringa leaves contain all nine essential amino acids, as well as vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, E and high levels of beta-carotene.

“We have the moringa seeds and plants, which are powdered,” said Weaver.

According to the USDA, other vegetables high in protein include seaweed, potatoes and soy. (Protein is given per 1-cup serving size.)

  • Seaweed (dried spirulina), 64.37 g. protein
  • Soybeans (green, raw), 33.15 g. protein
    (cooked), 22.23 g. protein
  • Potatoes (mashed and dehydrated, as from a box), 21.8 g. protein
    (cooked at home), 12.4 g. protein
  • Blackeye peas (frozen, cooked), 14.43 g. protein
    (uncooked), 14.37 g. protein
  • Lima beans (frozen, uncooked), 12.45 g. protein
    (frozen, cooked), 11.97 g. protein
  • Peas (canned), 11.13 g. protein
    (sprouted, raw), 10.56 g. protein

If you plan on visiting Weaver at The Moringa Tree, just be sure not to drop the C-word.

“We avoid all cans at all costs,” she said. “With canned products, you get heavy metals from the aluminum that gets into the food, you get the preservatives and you get the BPA poison from the linings. So all that stuff, it’s just toxic. There’s no nutritional value left in those vegetables.”

 

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