General Information about Plant Protein

Proteins form the most important components of human body besides fat and carbohydrates. Their task is the building and preservation of cells, hormones and antibodies. Thus an optimal protein supply is vitally important for human health.

During absorption the proteins from food are broken down by enzymes into their components, the amino acids. The various amino acids are bonded together by polypeptide chains and form the specific protein based on their spatial arrangement.

The human body requires a total of 20 different amino acids. Eight of which must be obtained from the diet because the body can’t produce them by itself. They are called essential amino acids. Foods are good sources of protein as if they contain amino acids at most in amounts corresponding to the human need. Thus the protein source and the exact composition of amino acids are of essential significance to the value of a food.

Vegetable Protein

In addition to animal foods vegetable foods are a source of proteins. Every plant contains a certain amount of protein based on its type. Legumes like soy or lupine and composite plants like sunflower have a particularly high protein content.

The main difference between animal and vegetable proteins is their amino acid profile. Foods from vegetable sources generally contain a lower amount of essential amino acids. The human body can only build so much protein as is available from the smallest amount of the eight essential amino acids. This amino acid is called limiting amino acid and their amount in vegetable foods determines the biological value of a food protein. Legumes like soy beans and peas contain a low amount of the sulphurous amino acids cystine and methionine. Thus the sunflower protein Heliaflor®, which contains higher amounts of these sulphurous amino acids, is an ideal addition to legumes to increase their nutritional value. Vice versa legumes upgrate sunflower protein because of their higher amount of lysine.

People consuming only vegetable proteins should pay attention to choosing different sources to balance their daily intake of limiting amino acids. Combined proteins don’t have to be consumed in the same meal. It is sufficient to complete the spectrum of amino acids throughout the day.

To determine the quality of proteins they are divided into complete and incomplete protein sources. Complete proteins contain all eight essential amino acids in sufficient amounts. They are mainly found in animal foods but also appear in a number of vegetable protein sources like soy products, hemp or chia seeds. Incomplete proteins don’t contain all essential amino acids or contain them only in insufficient amounts.

The following table compares different vegetable proteins.

Comparing different vegetable proteins

Here you find an elaborate table comparing different vegetable proteins. Like Heliaflor® you can order these products from All Organic Trading GmbH.

  Protein Appearance, flavor and odor Application
Hempt protein 70 70 green – dark green, typical Sports nutrition, shakes/smoothies
Heliaflor® 55 > 55 (dry mass) light beige, typical, slightly nutty Bakery products, fruit bars, salad dressings/ mayonnaise, protein-shakes, vegan spreads, vegan substitute for meat, vegan ice-cream, pasta, sausage- and meat products
Almond flour, defatted, reduced germs, microfine >50 white, typical, slightly nutty Bakery products, cereal, desserts, gluten-free flour mixtures, milk-substitutes, shakes/smoothies, vegan parmesan
Heliaflor® 45 48 beige, typical, nutty Bakery products, fruit bars, salad dressings/ mayonnaise, protein-shakes, vegan spreads, vegan substitute for meat, vegan ice-cream, pasta, sausage- and meat products
Soy Protein 45, defatted, pulverized 43 Cream coloured,
typical bean like
Bakery products, egg-substitute, milk-substitute, sausage- and meat products, extrudates
Lupine Protein, pulverized 39 Light yellow,
typical bean like,
Only partially applicable due to the bitter taste
Chia Protein, entfettet, defatted, microfine 36 Brown, typical seed like Bakery products, cereal, desserts (pudding), egg-substitute/binding agent, shakes/smoothies
Soy Protein 36 36 Cream coloured,
typical bean like
Bakery products, binding agent, egg-substitute, milk-substitute
Flax Seed Flour Gold, defatted, pulverized 33 Light yellow, beige, typical gras like, nutty Bakery products, binding and soaking agent, cereals, egg-substitute, gluten-free flour mixes, shakes/smoothies
Hemp Protein 26 26 green – dark green, typical gras like Shakes/smoothies
Chickpea Flour, roasted 19 Cream coloured, beige,
typical bean like,
light bitter
Bakery products, binding agent, vegan spreads, humus, vegan meat-substitute, pasta, sausage and meat products
Coconut Flour, defatted 17 Cream-coloured white, typical nutty Bakery products, binding agent, cereals, shakes/smoothies, sauces

Amino Acids in Sunflower Protein

Proteins contain 20 different amino acids as building elements which are bonded together by peptide chains. These amino acids can be divided into essential and semi-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are vital but human body cannot produce them by itself. An adequate supply through daily nutrition is important. Essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Semi-essential amino acids like arginine and histidine cannot be build in human body during specific times of development in life, e.g. of newborns.

Following table shows average amounts of amino acids in Heliaflor® 45 und Heliaflor® 55. Amino acids which are marked with * are essential.

Amino acid profile (mean values in g/100 g)

Amino Acid Heliaflor® 45
in per cent (%)
Heliaflor® 55
in per cent (%)
Asparagine 4,26 5,10
Threonine* 1,65 2,00
Serine 1,78 2,21
Glutamatic acid 9,26 11,38
Proline 2,08 2,46
Glycine 2,79 3,41
Alanine 2,02 2,55
Valine* 2,55 3,07
Methionine* 0,94 1,14
Isoleucine* 2,13 2,52
Leucine* 2,95 3,62
Tyrosine 1,17 1,41
Phenylalanine* 2,25 2,68
Lysine 1,55 1,95
Histidine 1,14 1,46
Arginine 3,77 4,90
Cystine 0,51 0,68
Tryptophane 0,43 0,96