High Protein Foods are good for our health as protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones and pretty much everything that matters in your body.
It also improves health in various ways, such as helping you lose weight and belly fat, while increasing your muscle mass and strength.
Adiet high in protein also lowers blood pressure, fights diabetes andmore while deficiency in protein leads to muscle atrophy and impairedfunctioning of the human body in general.
Othersymptoms of protein deficiency includes:
- wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissue
- oedema (build-up of fluids, particularly in the feet and ankles)
- anaemia (the blood’s inability to deliver sufficient oxygen to the cells, usually caused by dietary deficiencies such as lack of iron)
- slow growth (in children).
Proteinsare made up of chains of smaller chemicals called amino acids andsince the human body cannot store amino acids, so it must be supplieddaily from the foods we eat.
For this reason, it is recommended that you should eat high-quality protein at every meal using the recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein of 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.
Also very high protein foods or diets intake are dangerous because excess of everything is bad!
And some of the problems with very high-protein foods/diets include:
- They usually promote a very low intake of carbohydrates. Glucose, made when your body breaks down dietary carbohydrate, is your body’s preferred fuel source. If your body does not receive enough dietary carbohydrate, it will break down muscle tissue to make glucose. This causes muscle wastage, reduced metabolism and a build-up of ketones.
- Fibre is largely a carbohydrate. Foods rich in carbohydrates (such as whole-grains and legumes) are also rich in fibre. Avoiding these foods leads to an overall low-fibre intake, which can result in constipation, bowel disorders and increased risk of colon cancer.
- There is evidence to suggest that the heart may not function as well if its main source of fuel is ketones.
- High intake of animal products (which is usually recommended in such diets) can also be high in saturated fats and cholesterol, which is associated with a range of conditions including heart disease.
- The liver and kidneys are put under strain because they have to detoxify and eliminate unusually high quantities of protein byproducts. Kidney problems may be exacerbated in people with diabetes.
- There is an increased risk of developing gout and gall bladder colic.
- Greater losses of body calcium may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
- High-protein diets can cause mild dehydration due to increased water loss through urine. Increased risk of dehydration puts the body under pressure.
- Recent research shows that weight loss over one year is not greater on a high-protein diet when compared to safer, low-fat eating patterns.
Today, we are going to be discussing about the complete list of high protein foods you should know about that will greatly benefit your health but first we need to understand how protein actually works in our body.
HowProtein Works in Our Body
Braincells, muscle, skin, hair and nails are just some of the body partsthat are protein-based. Estimates suggest that about half of thehuman body’s dry weight is made up of protein.
Many of the foods weeat contain protein, particularly flesh foods (chicken, beef, lamband fish), and legumes like beans and lentils.
These proteins arebroken down during digestion to release amino acids, which are thebuilding blocks of all proteins.
Once inside the body,these amino acids are used to make new proteins including enzymes andhormones such as adrenalin. Proteins are sometimes also used as anenergy source.
Aprotein-rich food, such as meat for instance, is broken down intoindividual proteins by the gastric juices in your stomach.
Thenthe pancreatic enzymes released into the first portion of your smallintestine (duodenum) split the proteins into their separate aminoacids. The amino acids are absorbed by the small finger-likeprojections (villi) lining the intestine walls, and are taken to theliver via the bloodstream.
Then the human bodyuses those amino acids in these three main ways:
- Protein synthesis – new proteins are created constantly. For example, as old, dead cells are sloughed off the skin surface, new ones are pushed up to replace them.
- Precursors of other compounds – a range of substances are created using amino acids, (for example, the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin and the ‘fight or flight’ chemical adrenalin).
- Energy – although carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source, about 10 per cent of energy is obtained from protein.
With all these explained, now let us go back to the list of high protein foods we have which include the following:
Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet.
They are loaded withvitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants andbrain nutrients that most people don’t get enough of.
Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.
Proteincontent:35% of calories in a whole egg. One large egg provides 6 grams ofprotein and less than 1 gram of carbs with 78 calories.
Almonds are a populartype of tree nut.
They are loaded withimportant nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, manganese andmagnesium.
Proteincontent:13% of calories. 6 grams per ounce (28 g), with 161 calories.
Pistachios (13% ofcalories) and cashews (11% of calories).
Chicken breast is oneof the most popular protein-rich foods. If you eat it without theskin, the majority of calories in it come from protein.
Chicken breast is alsovery easy to cook, and tastes delicious if you do it right.
Proteincontent:80% of calories. 1 roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53grams, has less than 4 grams of fat and only 284 calories.
Oats are among thehealthiest grains on the planet because they are loaded with healthyfibers, magnesium, manganese, thiamin (vitamin B1) and several othernutrients.
Proteincontent:15% of calories. Half a cup of raw oats has 13 grams, with 303calories.
Cottage cheese is atype of cheese that is very low in fat and calories which is loadedwith calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitaminB2) and various other nutrients.
Proteincontent:59% of calories. A cup (226 g) of cottage cheese with 2% fat contains27 grams of protein, with 194 calories.
OtherTypes of Cheese That Are High in Protein
Parmesan cheese (38%of calories), swiss cheese (30%), mozzarella (29%) and cheddar (26%).
Greek Yogurt, alsocalled strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt which tastesdelicious, has a creamy texture, and is high in many nutrients.
Compared to regularyogurts, full-fat Greek is way more satisfying since it helpsstabilize blood sugar levels.
Just make sure tochoose one without added sugar. Full-fat Greek yogurt is also veryhigh in protein, but contains more calories.
Proteincontent:Non-fat Greek yogurt has protein at 48% of calories. One 6-ounce(170-gram) container has 17 grams of protein, with only 100 calories.
Milk contains a littlebit of almost every single nutrient needed by the human body and canprovide several impressive health benefits.
It is particularlyhigh in calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Proteincontent:21% of calories. 1 cup of whole milk contains 8.4 grams for an8-ounce glass., with 149 calories.
Broccoli is anincredibly healthy vegetable, loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, fiberand potassium.
Broccoli is also high in various bio-active nutrients believed to help protect against cancer.
Calorie for calorie,it is very high in protein compared to most vegetables.
Proteincontent:20% of calories. 1 cup (96 grams) of chopped broccoli has 3 grams ofprotein, with only 31 calories.
Lean beef is very highin protein, and also tastes delicious.
It is loaded withiron, vitamin B12 and large amounts of other important nutrients.
Proteincontent:53% of calories. One 3-ounce (85 g) serving of cooked beef with 10%fat contains 22 grams of protein, with 184 calories.
Tuna is a very populartype of fish.
It is low in both fatand calories, so what you’re left with is mostly just protein.
Like other fish, tunais also very high in various nutrients and contains a decent amountof omega-3 fats.
Protein content: 94% of calories, in tuna canned in water. A cup (154 g) contains 39 grams of protein, with only 179 calories.
Quinoa is a popular one on the list of high-protein foods because it’s also gluten-free, vegetarian, and low in fat. It is a seed/grain that is currently among the world’s most popular super-foods.
It is high in many vitamins, minerals and fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants with other numerous health benefits.
Proteincontent:15% of calories. One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa has 8 grams, with222 calories.
Lentils are a type oflegume that are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate,copper, manganese and various other nutrients.
Lentils are among theworld’s best sources of plant-based protein and are an excellent foodfor vegetarians and vegans.
Proteincontent:27% of calories. 1 cup (198 g) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams,with 230 calories.
Soybeans (33% ofcalories), kidney beans (24%) and chickpeas (19%).
Pumpkins containedible seeds popularly known as pumpkin seeds which are said to beincredibly high in many nutrients, including iron, magnesium andzinc.
Proteincontent:14% of calories. 1 ounce (28 g) has 5 grams of protein, with 125calories.
Flax seeds (12% ofcalories), sunflower seeds (12%) and chiaseeds (11%).
Turkey breast issimilar to chicken breast in many ways.
It consists mostly ofprotein, with very little fat and calories. It also tastes deliciousand is high in various vitamins and minerals.
Proteincontent:70% of calories. One 3-ounce (85 g) serving contains 24 grams, with146 calories.
15.Fish (All Types)
Fish is incrediblyhealthy because it is loaded with important nutrients, and tends tobe very high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Proteincontent:Highly variable. Salmon is 46% protein, with 19 grams per 3-ounce (85g) serving and only 175 calories.
Shrimp is a type ofseafood which is low in calories, but incredibly high in variousnutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12.
Like fish, shrimp alsocontains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Proteincontent:90% of calories. A 3 ounce (85 g) serving contains 18 grams, withonly 84 calories.
The Brussels Sproutsis another high-protein vegetable, related to broccoli.
It is one of thehealthiest foods you can eat, and is very high in fiber, vitamin Cand other nutrients.
Proteincontent:17% of calories. Half a cup (78 g) contains 2 grams of protein, with28 calories.
Peanuts are incrediblydelicious and they are high in protein, fiber, magnesium and manystudies show that they can help you lose weight.
Peanut Butter is also high in protein.
Protein content: 16% of calories. One ounce (28 g) has 7 grams, with 159 calories.