Proteins are the building blocks of our cells, tissues, enzymes, and hormones. They are necessary for dozens of body functions, from growth to wound healing.
What is the first food that comes to your mind when you think of proteins? Most likely is meat, since some animal sources contain some of the most quality proteins. Turkey and chicken breast, for example, and lean beef fillet are included among them.
However, animal proteins do not match the diet of all humans. Meat isn’t their only source of protein either. On the contrary, there are many other protein sources, which have a place in our daily diet.
As dietitian-nutritionist Nicole Hopsecger, from the Cleveland Clinic, explains, proteins are one of the key ingredients the body needs to function properly. They are a building block of our cells and tissues, but also many, Enzymes, Hormones and other active ingredients that secrete immune cells.
Their daily, adequate consumption contributes, among many other things:
- To support the whole body in times of rapid physical development or increased needs (childhood, adolescence, pregnancy, breastfeeding)
- In regulating blood pressure
- Reducing the risk of developing diabetes
- Weight loss
- Acquiring lean muscle mass
- Hormonal regulation
- Recovery from injuries
- The healing of minor injuries suffered by the body during exercise
4 Healthy Foods Rich in Protein
Here are 4 healthy foods that provide abundant, good-quality protein.
Beans And Other Legumes
All kinds of beans, fava, and lentils contain plenty of protein. Half a cup of boiled beans provides almost 7 grams of protein. This amount is the same as that containing 30 grams of meat. Similarly, per 100 grams the boiled fava provides more than 10 grams of protein.
Moreover, beans and lentils contain plenty of fiber, which further stimulate the feeling of hunger saturation. They are also necessary for the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Meat does not contain any fiber, so it does not have these benefits.
Legumes also contain many more antioxidant ingredients. Studies have shown that:
- One serving of beans a day reduces LDL cholesterol (the ”bad” cholesterol)
- Three servings of legumes a week reduce the risk of heart disease
- Four servings of legumes per week reduce the risk of recurrence of bowel polyps. Colon polyps may develop into cancer.
- “Plant proteins protect against chronic, degenerative diseases,” says Ms Hopsecger. Other good vegetable sources of protein are are peas, walnuts, seeds, soy beans and 100% whole grains.
Beans and all kinds of legumes are excellent sources of protein. Moreover, they include fibers that meat lacks. Beans and legumes, in general, have antioxidant properties, reduce the risk of heart disease, and ”bad” cholesterol.
Oily fish are a wonderful source of protein and provide many health benefits. Salmon is a prime example. 100 grams of salmon provides up to 25 grams of protein. These represent almost 45% of the daily amount we need.
At the same time, however, it also provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for health. Studies have shown, for example, that they reduce triglycerides and pressure. They also have blood thinning properties, thus protecting against blood clots.
Set a goal to eat two servings of salmon or other oily fish (sardines or anchovies) every week. 100 grams of Roasted sardines or 20 grams of anchovies for example, provide 28 grams of protein.
Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and anchovies are packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids withc are essential for our health.
Eggs contain high quality proteins. At the same time, says Ms Hopsecger, they feed the body with few calories and many nutrients, such as:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fats
- B vitamins
Each egg provides an average of 7 grams of protein, corresponding to 12% of the daily recommended dose. Although it was previously thought to burden cholesterol in the blood, studies have shown that the cholesterol they contain, minimally affects cholesterol in the blood.
For this reason, there is no official limit on eggs that you can eat daily. But if you have a heart or cholesterol problem, don’t exceed 4 yolks a week, recommends dietitian-nutritionist Julia Zumpano, from the Cleveland Clinic’s Department of Preventive Cardiology.
Eggs, are another excellent source of protein who is also packed with other beneficial to the body nutrients. It was believed that increased one’s cholesterol but newer studies have showsn that he cholesterol they contain, minimally affects cholesterol in the blood.
If you like dairy products, a little fat or lean sheep yogurt is all you need. It contains plenty of protein, but without the saturated fats that most cheeses contain..
For example, a cup (200 grams) of reduced-fat sheep yogurt can provide between 15 and 20 grams of protein. It also contains many other valuable ingredients, most notably calcium and potassium.
Prefer sheep yogurt without added sugar. Sheep yogurts are filled with probiotics and are particularly beneficial, stresses Mrs Hopsecger. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support bowel function.
Eat it together with nuts, chia or flax seeds and dried fruit for a super healthy meal.
Sheep yoghurt is packed with protein, calcium and pottasium. It is also a very good source of probiotics that support bowel function. Prefer unstrained yogurt from goats and sheeps rather cows.
What do you think about the above food recommendations. What role do these foods hold in your diet? Do you consume? Will you start consuming them? Leave your comments below and let us start a discussion.
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