You are familiar with diets talking about controlling carbohydrates and fat portions. But protein is very much required for the body and should not be compromised. This is true unless you are suffering from chronic diseases related to the kidney and liver. High protein foods are very much necessary for body building and repair of the body. Nature has bestowed upon us numerous sources of foods which contain high amounts of protein compared to other foods. This article addresses 21 high protein foods list that you should be aware of and include as part of your diet.
What are Proteins?
Proteins are long chain amino acids. They are required by the body for proper metabolism. There are about 20 types of amino acids required by our body. Some of them are synthesised within the body itself while some of them are got from food. What is protein? Thus amino acids extracted from food become the “Essential proteins”. In nature proteins could be got from both plant and animal sources. Animal sources are better sources than plants. Vegetable sources include legumes, seeds. The animal sources include dairy, meat and fish.
If there is a deficient of protein in the body it causes low energy levels. This results in poor concentration, mood swings, memory loss, unstable blood sugar levels, muscle mass loss etc. Proteins are required by our body every minute of the day. It helps in growth of skin, organs, hair and skin. It helps to build cells, maintain cells and replace old cells in every part of our body.
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Advantages of Including High Protein Foods in Our Diet
- For a healthy brain function and nervous system
- Keep blood sugar levels under control
- To increase muscle mass
- To slow down aging
- For a good heart function
- To have strong and healthy bones
Sources of High Protein Foods
Find below list of high protein foods.
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds belong to the category of super seeds with protein. They are supposed to be rich in omega 3 and hence have anti-inflammatory property. In 2 full teaspoons they carry about 7 grams of protein. They also contain magnesium, manganese and phosphorous which maintains healthy bones. They also contain a good amount of fibre. This helps in slowing the absorption of food in the body. Thus you don’t tend to get hungry fast and end up eating smaller portions of food. Blood sugar levels are also maintained.
Lentils belong to the group of Legumes. They are one of the richest sources of high protein foods in them for the vegetarians. A cup of lentils provides around 20 grams of protein. Some of them include chickpeas, toor dal, urad dal and moong dal. They don’t need any pre-soaking before cooking and can be easily cooked. In addition to proteins they also contain fibre, potassium, iron, folate, copper and manganese. Thus they help in protecting the bone health too.
Peanuts are a rich source of proteins. When eaten in moderation it provides all the nutrition without additional calories. 2 spoons of peanut butter when consumed in the morning for breakfast, keeps you full and satiated till lunch time. Thus you eat less and blood sugars are also maintained this way. That is about 28 grams of peanuts contain about 7 grams of proteins with 159 calories.
Natural uncoated almonds are good for health. They make a good snacking option. About 20 to 25 almonds give about 7 grams of protein. Since they contain monosaturated fat, they provide a feeling of fullness after consumption. Thus they help in weight reduction too. They also contain vitamin E, fibre, manganese, phytochemicals and magnesium. These micronutrients help in metabolism and digestion. Blood sugar levels are also maintained.
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Heard enough of excess carbohydrate derived from rice and wheat? Switch over to quinoa. This is a wonder cereal which keeps you satiated and healthy. It contains one of the important amino acids called lysine which produces collagen for development of bones and muscles. A cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. It keeps you full and is also easily digestible. Quinoa also contains riboflavin which is part of vitamin B complex. It aids in breakdown of carbohydrates and fat in the body.
A cup of chickpeas provides you with a 1/3 rd protein serving per day. It is a natural food with high protein. It is also loaded with fibre. Hence it can be safely taken in the form of hummus or in curries. Being part of the legume family it is considered as an essential part of the weight reduction diet. It keeps you feeling full and you tend to eat less.
Like quinoa, amaranth seeds also have high proportions of proteins. A cup of amaranth seeds has 9 grams of protein compared to 8 grams of quinoa. Amaranth can also be cooked like quinoa. Both are comparable and can be swapped for each other.
8. White Beans
Eating organic white beans is a good way to up your protein source in food. A cup of white beans contains about 16 grams of protein and that makes quite a good part of your daily requirement. It also contains thiamine which helps in breaking down of carbohydrates in the body. To ensure that you are eating pesticide-free product, buy only organic beans.
A coconut contains 15 grams of protein. This is pretty impressive considering that it is a fruit. Coconut could be eaten in various forms. Coconut flour contains 4 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons. One cup of coconut milk contains 5 grams of protein while 2 spoons of coconut butter contain 2 grams. It also contains threonine which is an amino acid which prevents fat build up in the liver. It can be consumed after a heavy workout for it provides the required energy.
Eating an egg as a whole is supposed to very nutritious. Protein in eggs remains undisputed. The yolk of the egg contains vitamins A, vitamin D and vitamin E and is supposed to be heart healthy. Eggs are also rich in Omega 3s. One egg is supposed to contain approximately 6 grams of protein which cannot be overlooked. Most of the protein is found in the egg white.
11. Cottage Cheese
This is one of the most protein loaded foods that you can find. A cup of cottage cheese contains about 25 grams of protein and amounts to totally 200 calories. For weight watchers this is a good snack and keeps hunger at bay. It is an ideal food for the vegetarians.
Unlike most of the vegetables peas contain a good amount of proteins. A cup of peas has around 10 grams of protein. In addition to protein it also has glutamine which is an amino acid. This helps in repair of muscles after a workout.
Spirulina is a highly nutritious seaweed with a number of health benefits. A spoon of spirulina contains about 4 grams of protein. It can be added to drinks, smoothie or mixed with plain water and consumed. It also contains beta carotene and echinenone which protects you against illnesses.
14. Cow’s Milk
Ensure that you drink cow’s milk which is fed with organic grass. The cows should not be given any hormonal injections. A cup of milk contains most of the nutrients your body needs at least in some quantity. A cup of fat-free milk contains about 8 grams of protein and amounts to about 86 calories. It contains a good proportion of vitamin D that is about 25 grams in a cup of milk.
15. Chicken Breast
Chicken breasts are one of the best high protein foods. A single breast without the skin contains about 53 calories of protein while amounting to 284 calories. The dish needs to be cooked properly for it to taste delicious. But it is one of the most popular non-vegetarian sources of protein.
16. Greek Yoghurt
How much protein in yogurt? A 6 ounce container of fat-free yogurt contains 17 grams of protein amounting to 100 calories only. Homemade yogurt is the best way to consume it. If you are buying it from the shop ensure that it does not contain any sugar.
This fruit contains a decent amount of proteins at 5 grams per fruit. In addition to proteins it is loaded with omega 3s, beta carotene and healthy fats. The monosaturated fat keeps you feeling full and satiated and hence you will tend to eat less. The omega 3s helps in fighting inflammation in the body.
18. Hemp Seeds
For that crunchy feeling in any of your dishes or salad you can add hemp seeds. 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 10 grams of protein. You can eat them plain or roast them slightly. The roasted seeds give a nutty taste.
19. Wild Salmons
One of the popular sources of high protein foods is the organic wild fish. A 5 ounce piece of salmon gives us 39 grams of protein. It is also filled with huge amounts of omega 3s which aids in reducing inflammation in the body. It is heart healthy and lowers LDL while raising HDL. The wild salmon has fewer calories as compared to the farmed types.
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20. Pumpkin Seeds
Many of us throw away the pumpkin seeds while cooking. Now after reading this probably we will not. A teaspoon of pumpkin seeds contain about 5 grams of protein. It gives a crunchy taste to salads when sprinkled on it. You could measure the amount before adding it to any dish so that you don’t go overboard.
21. Sundried Tomatoes
Raw tomatoes are healthy and contain about 8 grams of protein. They are also loaded with antioxidants and lycopene. When the tomatoes are heated and dried, the lycopene in them is better absorbed by the body. Tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin A and vitamin E.
How Much Protein Should You Eat?
As per Dietary reference intake we should take about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For an average sedentary woman this works out to be roughly 46 grams while for an average sedentary man it works out to be 56grams daily.
If your body does not get enough protein you may see the following symptoms in your body.
- Metabolism which is sluggish
- Problems losing weight
- Trouble building muscle mass
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Mood swings and irritability
- Destabilization of blood sugar levels
- Poor concentration levels and low energy levels
- Joint, bones and muscle aches
- Reduction of immunity levels
- Slow healing of wounds
Eating adequate amounts of protein is of prime importance to us on a daily basis. What foods are high in protein? The list above gives some indication. One has to ensure that high protein foods are part of our daily diet. If improper and unbalanced foods are consumed diseases will take hold of the body.