Everyone needs to consume protein in their diet, otherwise the body would not be able to perform many basic functions such as forming tissues, muscles and cells. Proteins are also important to produce hormones and antibodies that regulate the functioning and health of the organism. In other words, proteins are the body’s building blocks. This is why proteins should not be taken lightly when choosing a proper diet, and each meal of the day should have a certain amount of high-quality proteins.
Benefits of a Protein Rich Diet
A high-protein diet helps fight mainly two dangerous diseases: high blood pressure and diabetes. It has been proven that foods rich in protein also improve health by helping to lose weight and fat. In addition, they increase muscle mass and, therefore, the body’s general physical strength. Over the years, a natural consequence of aging for all of us is the loss of our muscle mass. That’s why, as we get older, it’s better to eat more protein to reduce muscle loss and prevent weakening. Also, increasing our protein intake is mandatory if we are into weight training or endurance sports and we want to increase our muscle mass.
How Much Protein Do We Need And When Should We Eat It?
The recommended daily intake is 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per 1 kilogram of body weight. On average,this means that women need to consume 46 grams a day, while men need 56 grams. Of course, these amounts will vary according to our personal routine and also depending on whether we exercise or not. In addition, the type of exercise we do is also relevant. For example, athletes and weightlifters need 1.5 to 2 grams per kilogram, while endurance athletes need 1.2 to 1.6 grams. As for what time of the day should we eat protein-rich foods, the answer is all day. We have the bad habit of eating a diet made of breakfasts and lunches that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein, while we load our last meal with all the proteins of the day. The best thing for our health would be to achieve that our three meals contain a balanced amount of protein. Eating foods with protein is especially important after exercising. Half an hour after finishing exercising, our muscles will need protein to grow and recover, so it is recommended to consume around 15 and 25 grams of protein at that time. Here we have some of the richest foods in protein that we can incorporate into our diet according to our personal needs:
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great option for breakfast and for starting the day with energy. They are also the most appropriate snack after exercising, as they help replenish the minerals (sodium and potassium) that are lost with sweat. Fifty nuts provide around 6 grams of protein and 120 to 160 calories. Some of the most popular and delicious nuts are almonds, because they contain nutrients such as vitamin E. In addition, they are an important source of fiber and magnesium. In a similar way, peanuts are a preferred snack. It is almost impossible to find someone who does not like their taste and, in fact, they help you lose weight! Pistachios and cashews are also good options if we want to have a varied diet. As for the seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are the most attractive due to their protein and nutrientcontent, such as iron and zinc. At present, chia and quinoa seeds are extremely popular all over the world, for they are high in vitamins, fiber and antioxidants.
Chicken and turkey breasts
Chicken and turkey breasts have always been popular for their high protein content and for the fact that they can be used in a huge amount of recipes. To take advantage of all their benefits, it is necessary to eat them without the skin, otherwise we will consume too much fat and calories. Chicken has twice as much protein (50 grams) as turkey (25 grams).
All types of fish that exist are healthy and nutritionally valuable thanks to their omega 3 fatty acids, which have proven to be beneficial for the heart. Two of the most popular fish are tuna and salmon, as they have virtually no fat or calories. Therefore, they provide mostly protein and only about 170 calories: 150 grams of tuna contain 39 grams of protein, while 80 grams of salmon contain 20 grams of protein. On the other hand, shrimp is also low in calories and high in nutrients such as vitamin B12. Its protein content is almost equal to that of the salmon.
Egg whites are basically protein without anything else, so many athletes consume them daily. However, whole eggs are also incredibly nutritious and healthy, as they contain a large amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, such as calcium, iron, copper, zinc, sodium and folic acid. A whole egg contains 6 grams of protein and almost 80 calories, while an egg white contains 3.5 grams of protein and only 15 calories.
Dairy products such as milk and cheese are high in protein and easy to incorporate on a daily diet. Milk is an outstanding source of high-quality protein, calcium and vitamin B2. Actually, it contains almost every single nutrient we need, to a greater or lesser extent. A glass of milk of 150 calories gives us almost 10 grams of protein. Despite all these advantages, the problem is that many people are lactose intolerant. If that is your case, you can replace the milk with soy-based drinks. Soy is also a great source of protein and contributes almost the same amount as milk. There are many cheeses that are high in protein: Swiss cheese, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, cheddar and cottage cheese. These cheeses in general are a good source of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins B12 and B2. The most notable of them all is cottage cheese, as it is low in fat and contains the highest amount of protein: 27 grams of protein per 220 grams of cheese.Read More