It is generally known that food high in protein has many uses such as providing muscle tissue repair, giving a boost of energy, and helping keep the immune system running efficiently. Protein is also the prime source of amino acids in the body. Amino acids are the body’s building blocks and instrumental in forming cells, creating antibodies, and carrying oxygen throughout the body, among other things. A normal human body requires twenty amino acids in order to synthesize proteins. Half of these, or nonessential amino acids, are created by the body itself. The other half, or essential amino acids, are obtained from protein food sources.
The body does not store amino acids like it does with fats or carbohydrates, so each day the body has to be resupplied with essential amino acids in order to make new proteins. People have to consume these proteins in order to maintain their muscle’s healthy functions. Although proteins are an essential part of a healthy diet, one must also be wary of consuming an excessive amount of protein. This could cause additional unneeded strain on the kidneys and other organs. Conversely, an insufficient amount of protein in ones diet can have several consequences including stunted growth, decreased muscle mass, lowered immunity, and the weakening of bodily systems. Generally speaking, most adults need from two to three servings of protein-rich food per day depending on age or medical conditions. Eating animals or plants are the two ways to consume protein through food. Generally, meat contains more protein per serving than plants. However, this does not mean that vegetarians cannot adequately obtain their daily protein from non-meat sources. Protein in grains, fruits, and vegetables are incomplete protein sources. Incomplete protein foods do not contain the right amount of essential amino acids for your body. Plant proteins that are considered complete include nuts, soy foods, sprouted seeds, grains, beans, and spirulina, which contain over 60% protein. Incomplete plant protein sources can therefore be combined with other foods to make a complete protein food. For example, milk’s nutritional value supplements wheat cereal and produces a complete protein source.
The following foods are those that contain high amounts of protein by volume:
Eggs- One whole egg can contain about 8 grams of protein. Eggs are highest on the biological value, meaning the body can utilize the protein from eggs over all the other proteins sources.
Cheese- Certain cheeses, when eaten proportionally, are a great protein source. Since many cheeses are high in fat, one must be wary of eating too much at once. Low sodium Parmesan cheese contains around 41.6 grams of protein per 100 gram serving, while romano, mozzarella, and swiss cheese provide about 28-30 grams of protein. On the other hand, cream cheese’s provide the least amount of protein source and are also high in fat.
Mature Beans- The older and larger the bean, the more protein it contains. Dry roasted soybeans and roasted peanuts contain 68 grams and 35 grams of protein respectively. Like many cheeses, beans also may have a high proportion of carbohydrates and fats as well.
Lean Beef and Veal- It is best to get your protein source from lean cuts of veal or beef which provides about 36 grams of protein per 100 gram serving.
Lean Meats- Chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey are all lean meats that provide around 30 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Fish- Fish such as yellowfin tuna, cuttlefish, and octopus all contain over 30 grams of protein per 100 gram serving. Anchovies, salmon, halibut, snapper, and tilapia all have protein contents from 26-29 grams per serving.
Beef Jerky- Most big brand jerky are high in sodium and are not the greatest for you although they provide around 11 grams of protein per serving. Therefore, the health food alternative beef jerky is a better option.
Cottage Cheese- Cottage cheese generally has low calories and fat along with around 16 grams of protein per half cup serving. You can also add fruit into the cottage cheese to add to the taste.
Peanut Butter- One tablespoon of peanut butter contains four grams of protein and is a better alternative to many other snack time favorites.
Steel-Cut Oatmeal- Steel-cut oatmeal has many benefits with its good protein source and good carbohydrates. One packet of oatmeal can curb hunger in between meals in a beneficial way to your body.
A proper balanced diet, which includes lean protein sources from meat, non-refined carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta and rice, and simple carbohydrates such as raw fruit and vegetables, can change a person’s life for the better.