With a resurgence of evidence that suggests that high protein foods just might be your key to successful weight loss, many are now seeking super protein foods to incorporate into their daily meals. With the abundance of fat-free foodstuffs available on today’s grocery aisles, a high protein diet can easily be accomplished. Read on to find out more delicious and healthy foods that can help you boost your own protein intake while keeping the calories to a minimum.
Nearly every food group has some protein in many of its foods. For example, while most people consider natural carbohydrates to be the main source of healthy starches and sugars, this food group also provides a significant protein source. Take brown rice, for example, most health nuts would choose the unrefined rice over white rice because of its nutritional and fiber values; but it has another claim to fame in that just a half cup serving will supply the eater with nearly two and a half protein grams. Rough oatmeal, too, provides nearly three grams per half cup. So while you may be counting your carbs toward your starch intake, don’t forget to include them on your protein counter as well.
Nearly all dairy foods are other excellent protein sources. Just a single large egg will supply you with over six grams, while a half cup of low-fat cottage cheese adds another whopping sixteen grams. Milk, either low or nonfat, provides eight grams for every cup consumed. And yogurt, be it made with or without fat, contains between eleven and thirteen grams in each cup. Indeed, dairy is one of the consistently high protein food groups.
Last but certainly not least, some fish fillets are the absolute best sources of protein. A fillet of salmon boasts seventeen grams of protein in just three ounces. Halibut and mackerel are oceanic sources as well. But the absolute best option of all for those searching for a purely excellent source of protein happens to be sardines. If you can choke a can of water-packed sardines down, or if you are lucky enough to enjoy them on your pizza, you will have pretty nearly satisfied half of your protein count for the day, because only one can contains twenty-two grams of protein! So sardine-lovers rejoice, for these cans of fish will actually help you lose weight. And as for the rest of us, I suppose we’ll just have to learn to like them in some form or fashion. Dig out the recipe book!
The Need for Protein in Diets
The three macronutrients that are found in food are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Protein constitutes 20% of our body weight and is very important for the proper functioning of our body parts. It helps in the production of body enzymes, boosts the immune system, keeps diseases at bay and helps maintain healthy skin, hair and nails.
Protein is also the source of amino acids, which our bodies need to synthesize nutrients. The proteins that contain the amino acids are called complete proteins. Proteins are instrumental in carrying minerals like cooper, calcium, iron and vitamins A and D. A significant amount of protein in the body also helps you to maintain an ideal weight.
The amount of protein a person needs depends on his or her age, weight, size and activity level. The minimum protein requirement for a day can be found by multiplying the body weight by .8 if in kilograms and by .37 if the weight is in pounds. This means a a 165 pound individual would need about 61 grams of protein per day. The body has little capacity to store protein, so if the body does not have enough protein, it will begin to break down muscle immediately. This will lead to muscle atrophy and improper functioning of the human body.
Approximately 10 – 35% of calories have to be from protein for a body to function efficiently. This percentage varies a bit from individual to individual, a person’s body needs, metabolism rate, and much more, but it can give you an idea of where you may want to be.
Protein Sources for the Vegetarian:
No matter what your eating patterns are, no matter if you are a vegetarian, a non-vegetarian or have any particular preference and likes or dislikes to any kind of food, you are sure to be able to find protein rich food that you can include in your everyday diet.
Cheese is one of the best sources of protein. Parmesan cheese and other types of hard cheese like Mozzarella, Swiss, and Romana cheese provide 35 to 42 grams of protein for every 100 grams. However, spreadable and softer cheeses have only half the amount of protein for every 100gm.
Beans are an important source of protein and fiber. An important source of proteins for vegetarians, the mature and larger beans have more protein. Soybeans are a rich source of protein as well and provide almost 40 grams of protein for every 100 grams. However, Lupin beans, which are also rich in protein, provide less than half the proteins provided by soybeans.
Pumpkin and Watermelon seeds
The seeds of pumpkin, squash, and watermelon are high protein foods. These seeds can be roasted in the oven and eaten after cracking the thin shells to obtain 28 to 33 grams of protein per 100 grams. You can get 74.8 grams of protein for every cup of pumpkin and squash seeds.
The yeast extracts that are becoming popular in many parts of the world are a good source of protein. One teaspoon of yeast has 1.7 grams of protein, or there is 27.8 grams of protein in every 100 grams.
Yet another rich source of protein for those who are vegetarians are lentils, and pulses. Peanuts, a legume, pack 23.7 grams of protein per 100 grams. Each peanut has 0.2 grams of protein in it. Lentils, when eaten raw, provide 25.8 grams per every 100-gram serving. The protein amount reduces to 9 grams per 100 grams per serving when cooked.
A Few other Vegetable High Protein Foods and grams/serving:
-Kidney beans 13 grams
-Black-eyed peas 11 grams
-Broccoli 4 grams
-Spinach 5 grams
-Vital wheat gluten 75 grams per 100-gram serving
-Almonds 21 grams per 100-gram serving
-Pistachios 21 grams per 100-gram serving
-Cocoa powder 20 grams per 100 gram serving
-Tofu 17 grams per 100-gram serving
If you are a non-vegetarian, there are many more protein rich foods from which you can choose:
Beef, veal, chicken, lamb, pork and turkey are all good sources of protein. All of them provide approximately 30 to 35 gram of protein for every 100 grams.
Fish and Fish eggs
Tuna, Salmon, Halibut, Anchovies, Snapper and a few more types of fish can provide the necessary protein needed for the body. Apart from being an excellent source of beneficial fats and oils, they provide around 30 grams of protein per 100 grams. Fish eggs and caviar are a rich source of protein; these protein rich foods provide more protein compared to chicken. While these protein rich foods give you 24 grams of protein for every 100 grams consumed, chicken eggs give only 13 grams per 100 gram.
Lobster and Crab
100 grams of either steamed or baked Lobster contains 26.4 grams of protein per serving; this means that one lobster has 43 grams of protein. Crabs are not that rich in protein comparatively and give you 19.4 grams per 100 grams.
Percentage by weight
The protein content of a food is determined by taking into account the other macronutrients vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water content of the food. Eggs, a very good source for protein have 5 grams fat and 0 carbohydrates and 6 grams protein and based on these findings, it is concluded that the protein percentage according to weight is 12%.
Similarly, the protein percentage by weight in chicken breasts is 23%, 25.8% in ground sirloin, 23.4% weight in raw yellow fin tuna steak, and the protein percentage by weight in soy protein isolate is 80%. However, whey protein isolate has an equally high protein percentage with 78.6%.
Natural wholesome foods have lesser protein content when compared to concentrated protein food like protein isolate and whey isolate powder.
While there is a wide range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods that provide a high amount of protein to the body, not all protein that is consumed is absorbed by the body. The protein from milk products, whey, eggs and soybeans is digested and absorbed by the body much quicker; whereas, the protein from beef and many other protein rich foods are not fully digested and absorbed.
If you are health conscious and are on a diet, then some of the low fat high protein foods are:
-Egg whites 26 grams of protein
-Salmon 16.9 grams
-Chicken 35.1 grams
-Soybeans 11.1 grams
-Black beans 7.6 grams
-Cheese 16 grams
Putting in the time and effort to buy high protein foods for vegetarian or a non-vegetarian diet and cooking them in a healthy way will give you the right amount of protein that is low in fat and helps you to increase your immune levels to lead a disease free life.
These suggestions are some of the top foods high in protein. The best way to ensure that you are consuming enough is to simply use old-fashioned math. Every bite counts, and eventually will add up. Each time you notice yourself eating protein, you can be confident that it is leading you to a healthier lifestyle and a more compact waistline.