Consumption of protein is very important for providing proper and satiating nourishment for your body, building muscle and weight loss. However, just as it is important to eat protein, the quality of the protein you eat is much more important.
There are many reasons you should pick the best protein foods to eat. To begin with, each protein source has a different composition of amino acids, which constitute the proteins. Nine of the 20 different amino acids are classified as essential, i.e. you can only get them by eating them, the body can’t synthesize them. That is why it is so important find a protein source that supplies you with these essential amino acids.
Although animal protein sources like meat, fish, eggs and dairy, contain more or less all of the nine above mentioned amino acids, the plant-based sources most often provide you with only some of them. In other words, while a diet consisting solely of peas might provide you with enough protein to get you through the day, it won’t supply you with all the amino acids you need.
So if you are only consuming plant protein, you should include and combine different protein rich vegetables in your diet to be sure that you’ve had all the necessary amino acids.
However, this is not a reason to completely switch to steaks for all your meals. Getting the protein from all-meat diet could very easy put you in a position where you consume too many calories, saturated fat and cholesterol. As a result, instead of losing weight you might start gaining some more.
One more reason to diversify your protein sources is not the protein itself, but the minerals and vitamins that different foods provide. It’s important to remember that our body can’t thrive just on protein and needs many different nutrients for proper function.
If you want to be sure you are eating quality protein, as well as some important micronutrients, here are the best protein foods you can eat.
The best protein foods to eat on a daily basis
Eggs are not only packed with proteins, 6 grams per egg, they are packed with one of the best proteins available. As a matter of fact, regarding their biological value, i.e. the amount of protein that participates in cell and tissue building when consumed, eggs are rated among the best.
In addition, they have a high concentration of choline and vitamin B-12 and D, which play a pivotal role in maintaining your energy levels and proper cells function. On the bonus side, it appears that their consumption is not harmful for your system.
A British Journal of Medicine study, for example, concludes moderate egg consumption does not increase the danger of heart disease or stroke.
Although not a very popular item in the diet, cottage cheese can be the perfect source of protein and calcium. In fact, just one cup can cover 25 grams of protein and up to 18% of your recommended daily calcium allowance. In addition, it provides a great concentration of casein protein, which is digested by your system very slowly, providing a sense of satiety for a longer period.
Poultry is one of the ingredients that should find its place on your omnivorous protein diet. This is one of the leanest meats in terms of saturated fat, and still provides close to 30 grams of protein per serving (100g). In order to further restrict your calories intake, you should stick to white meat.
Fish have low caloric value and are high in proteins, providing the omega-3 fatty acids that keep our heart healthy and regulate our mood. They also prolong premature aging. Some of the healthiest sources of protein and omega-3 acids are salmon and tuna. Just three ounces of salmon provide 17 grams of protein and 6.5 grams of unsaturated fats.
Tuna rates even higher in terms of protein concentration, providing 25 grams in just 3 ounces. Moreover, it has even less calories than salmon with only 5 grams of saturated and unsaturated fat. If you really want to improve your protein intake, include fish in your diet at least two times a week.
Legumes are not just fantastic source of protein but they are also packed with fiber. In addition they are a great source of vitamin B. Peas for example contain 8 grams of protein in a cup. In addition, you can also consume beans, lentils or soybean.
The fat-free Greek yogurt is easily one of the best foods you can consume for breakfast or snacks, having in mind that it contains 17 grams of protein per serving, and very few calories. In order to cut down as much calories as you can, you should consume the plain variety, because the fruity flavored yogurt contains artificial sweeteners, that increase its caloric value.
In addition to being full of healthy unsaturated fatty acids, nuts also offer a good source of protein. They are also full of fiber, which makes them a highly satiating food. A Fitness Athlete’s Guide to Nuts and Seeds.
If we take into consideration the calorie to protein ration, the leafy greens like kale and spinach are unexpectedly high in protein. A serving of spinach (300g) containing just 70 calories, will provide you with as many as 9-10 grams of protein.
Although these plant based proteins don’t cover the whole range of amino acids, you can consume them with beans and legumes to make up for all the nine essential amino acids.