A little bit of fun science about proteins before we go into discussing foods high in protein!
Protein is a molecule made up of amino acids. It’s a nutrient your body needs to grow and repair cells. Proteins are the building blocks of your life. Every cell in your body contains protein. You need proteins because your body cannot produce essential amino acids on its own.
Proteins are called workhorses of your cell, because they compose structural and motor elements in your cell and they serve as the catalysts for almost every biochemical reaction that occurs in your body.
You need protein in your diet to help your body repair your cells and create new ones. Protein is also essential for growth and development in children and pregnant women.
Protein is an essential nutrient that helps build muscle tissue and maintain bone density. It also provides energy for daily activity.
The best source of protein is animal products, which include meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs. Plant-based protein sources include beans, nuts, seeds, soybeans, tofu, and other legumes.
High-protein diets favourably include large amounts of protein and only a small amount of carbohydrate. And, protein foods are broken down into amino acids during digestion. Your body needs a number of amino acids in large amounts to maintain good health.
How Much Protein You Need Daily
Protein is an essential macronutrient, and since your body cannot produce the macronutrients on its own, it’s important to get them through your diet.
The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 9.07185 kilogram of body weight.
The acceptable protein intake can range between 10% and 35% of calories each day.
Protein deficiency and malnutrition can contribute to the loss of your muscle mass and your decreased immunity, weakening of your heart and your respiratory system.
Types of Protein Good For Your Health
When we eat foods high in protein, we also end-up eating everything that comes with them: the different fats, fiber, sodium, etc. It’s this protein package that’s likely to make a difference to your health.
Research data suggests that it’s the source of protein (the protein package, as it is called) rather than the amount of protein that can make a difference for your health.
Healthy protein sources like beans, nuts, fish and poultry can make a positive difference to your health, while eating red meat and processed meat can increase the risk of several diseases and even lead to premature death.
And there’re complete and incomplete proteins.
If the protein you eat has all the 9 types of amino acids, it is called a “complete protein.” Some sources of complete proteins are:
If the protein you eat doesn’t have all the nine types of amino acids, it’s called an “incomplete protein.” Some sources of incomplete proteins are:
Now, let’s see foods that are high in protein.
Milk is a good source of high quality protein. It’s also high in vitamins ((vitamin B2) and minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin B2 helps break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s energy supply.
If you’re lactose-intolerant, you can buy lactose-free daily products, such as lactose-free milk or cheese (cheddar cheese) from your favourite online store. If you want to know more about food intolerance and how to deal with it, please refer to our exclusive blog post on the subject.
“Protein content in Milk: 246 mL of dairy milk provides 8.32 grams of protein”
Yogurt is high in protein, with about 12 grams per 8 ounces (227 grams, to be precise). Protein supports your metabolism by increasing your energy expenditure or the number of calories that you burn in a the day. Yogurt, especially greek yogurt, can potentially influence your appetite management and delay feelings of hunger, which can contribute to your weight loss.
Yogurt can help your appetite regulation, as it increases the production of leptin hormones that tell your brain that you’re full. It may also help you reduce the number of calories you consume, which might aid your weight loss.
“Protein content in Yogurt: 245 grams of plain yogurt churned from whole milk contains about 8.5 grams of protein.”
Eggs are a complete protein and are rich with vitamins and minerals. Eggs are low carbs and calorie, and are a cheap and healthy source of protein. One egg provides 6 to 8 grams of protein with just 70 calories.
Dietary cholesterol level in eggs has a very minimal impact on serum cholesterol levels or blood cholesterol levels, so they’re safe for your daily consumption. However, it’s recommended that you limit eating one egg per day.
Always eat egg with its yolk, a rich source of nutrition, which include vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins and choline. Studies have clearly shown that whole eggs are very healthy for most people and may actually help prevent chronic diseases.
“Protein content in Eggs: One egg (50 grams) provides 6.3 grams of protein.”
Chicken is a great choice for your increased protein intake. It’s a lean protein with 25 g in just 4 ounces. Chicken also provides a variety of B vitamins and minerals such as zinc and selenium.
One chicken breast contains about 54 grams of protein. Because it’s protein-rich and low in calorie means you can eat more chicken without duly concerned about consuming too many calories.
“Protein content in Chicken: Single half of a chicken breast (86 grams) contains 26.7 grams of protein”.
5. Fish and Seafood
Fish is a fantastic source of protein with a number of important vitamins and minerals, such as iodine, selenium and vitamin B12. Eating fish can lower the risk of health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Fish such as Tuna is a naturally lean protein source, so you’ll get a large amount of the protein you need from it. Prawns is also an excellent source of high protein. Prawns are also a great source of omega 3 and Vitamin B12 great for your heart and nervous system respectively.
Fish like sardine, cod, halibut, lobster, shrimp and crab are great source of high protein too.
“Protein content in Fish and Seafood (amount of protein in 3 ounce per serving): Tuna 26g, Crab 20g, Cod 20g, Salmon 24g, Shrimp 21g, Halibut 23g.”
6. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in calories and fat. Cottage cheese is called a fresh cheese, as it does not undergo a long ripening process to develop its flavour. One cup (226 grams) of cottage cheese provides 28 grams of protein, while cheddar cheese can provide 3.96 grams of protein per 17-gram slice.
Cottage cheese is high in selenium, essential component of enzymes and proteins, called selenoproteins, which help protect you against cell damage and infections. These proteins are also involved in reproduction and the metabolism of your thyroid hormones.
“Protein content in Cottage Cheese: 226 grams of cottage cheese contains 28 grams of protein.”
Lentils are high-protein pulses that are a rich source of plant-based protein, and they’re a great choice for you if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan. One cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils contains 17.9 grams of protein.
Lentils are full nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, folate, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. And, lentils can also help you reduce your blood sugar levels. Lentil sprouts may also help your heart health by lowering low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) and increasing high density lipoprotein (good cholesterol).
“Protein content in Lentils: 100 grams of cooked lentils contains 9.02 grams of protein.”
8. Black Beans
Black beans are a great source of protein, fiber and folate, and are nutritionally powerful. A diet rich in black beans can reduce your risk of many serious medical conditions and help your body to process calories much more effectively. One cup (172 grams) of cooked black beans contains 15.2 grams of protein, which 30% of your % Daily Value.
Black beans are known to positively enhance your gut bacteria. In one animal study, researchers have found out that eating black beans increased a cluster of bacteria in the gut that may result in improved insulin sensitivity. According to a study, eating a single serving of dried black beans per day can minimise the risk of heart attack by up to 38%.
Black beans can also be high in carbohydrates. So if you’re following a low-carb diet, you can consult your nutritionist before you start eating them. And, do not eat too many black beans, because they contain compounds that may be difficult for your stomach to digest and can cause gas and intestinal discomfort.
“Protein content in Black Beans: One cup or 172 grams of cooked black beans contains 15.2 grams of protein.”
Almonds are a plant-based protein. They are a tree nut richly filled with essential nutrients like fiber, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium. One ounce (28.35 grams) of almonds provides 6 grams of protein for you.
Eating almonds can help you to lower your blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Fats in almonds are mostly monounsaturated fats. A diet with moderate to high quantities of monounsaturated fats can help you in weight loss programs, provided you don’t eat more calories than you can burn.
“Protein content in Almonds: One ounce (28.35 grams) of almonds contains 6 grams of protein.”
Soybeans are one of the best sources of plant-based protein. One cup (172 grams) of boiled soybeans contains around 31. 3 grams of protein. Soybeans are a rich source of various vitamins, minerals, and useful plant compounds, like isoflavones. They’re also good source of both carbs and fat.
If eaten regularly, soybeans might alleviate the symptoms of menopause and reduce your risk of prostate and breast cancer. Having said that, if you are a predisposed individual, soybeans consumption can cause digestive problems and suppress your thyroid function. In this context, it’s better to have your genetic wellness improved.
“One cup (172 grams) of cooked soybeans contains 31.3 grams of protein.”
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