Protein is a vital ingredient for a healthy, balanced diet. Found in every cell in the body, it is important in the production of many of the chemicals the body needs to work properly and is used in the repair of damaged tissue. Protein is different from other macronutrients like fat and carbohydrates as the body does not keep a reserve of protein; this is why it is important to eat plenty of protein in your daily diet to ensure that the body has enough to be healthy.
Luckily, there lots of foods which are rich in protein to choose from. Meat is a good source of protein, particularly lean beef and pork and chicken and turkey breasts. There is also a good deal of protein in fish such as tuna, salmon, and halibut.
Quinoa may be one of the newest and trendiest superfoods, but it is also an excellent source of protein. In fact, quinoa is one of the few foods that contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. It is extremely versatile — you can use it as a replacement for rice in a stir fry or add it to salads, or even eat it instead of your morning porridge for a high-protein breakfast alternative.
There are lots of dairy products that are high in protein, though many are also high in fat, so should be eaten in moderation or try and find low-fat alternatives. Eggs, milk, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are all excellent options for those looking to eat more protein, and most have a low-fat option that will help you get the maximum health benefits from your improved diet. If you have a sweet tooth, go for flavored Greek yogurt or add chocolate powder to a glass of milk.
If you are trying to eat a healthier diet, snacks can often be a problem. However, there are many high-protein options when it comes to snacking too. Peanut butter, as well as peanuts themselves, of course, is high in protein; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an easy way to ensure that your children are getting enough protein in their diets too. Nuts are a great source of protein, though they can often be high in fat too. They are very portable, though, and make a great snack to eat on the go.
Vegetarians and vegans can often find it difficult to get enough protein in their diets. However, green vegetables such as kale and beans are high in protein, as is non-dairy milk. Tofu, the staple diet of many vegetarians and vegans is rich in protein, and of course, quinoa is veggie-friendly too.
If you are concerned that you might not be getting enough protein in your diet, there are supplements you can take to help ensure you are eating a balanced diet. These are usually aimed at people who are looking to bulk up, but there are plenty of natural protein powders and bars on the market that can help anyone boost the amount of protein they eat. These protein supplements are usually made from whey protein, but soy proteins are used in some products.
They are particularly useful at the start of a new exercise program or when you’re recovering from an injury as additional protein can help to repair the damaged tissue. Some doctors recommend teenagers take additional protein in the form of shakes or bars, as this can help them stay healthy through growing spurts. Protein supplements are also popular with vegetarians and vegans, though they are particularly useful for those who have just started an alternative diet. Once you have gotten used to what foods you should eat for a healthy diet, most people can get all the protein they need from the food they eat.
Protein is not just essential for your general good health; a high protein low-carb diet can help you to lose weight. Choose your foods carefully from the protein-rich options, and you can use this beneficial nutrient to help you shed the pounds.