Proteins are the building blocks of many bodily tissues. Just like nutrients found in other types of foods, proteins are essential nutrients required by our bodies for energy production, bodybuilding and sustaining basic bodily functions. Consuming enough protein is important for building muscle. Also of importance is the timing of the protein intake. When taken prior to or right after workout sessions, the rate at which it’s synthesized is at an optimal level. This means that when broken down into amino acids, your body uses them to repair the worn out muscles efficiently and effectively. (healthline)
The ideal daily protein intake per pound of body weight is 0.8 - 1.5 grams according to the Food and Nutrition Council of the National Research Council. (acaloriecounter) However, this may vary according to the health and fitness needs of every individual. Age and gender can also play a key role in determining individualized protein requirements. This protein calculator will come in handy in helping you to calculate the exact portions that you require to either maintain or transform your body. (OmniCalculator)
There are a lot of popular diets currently that promote consuming huge amounts of protein and restricting carbohydrates. Though the need to consume a considerable amount of protein cannot be overstated, having a well-balanced diet is essential to overall health as proteins alone cannot sustain you. For this reason, we recommend shooting for the top end of your body’s protein needs on a daily basis. Simultaneously, you should be balancing your diet with plenty of quality carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as quality fats.
There are also several common misconceptions when it comes to proteins that you need to stay clear of. One being that you need to eat huge portions of protein sources in one sitting. In fact, smaller and more frequent portions of protein throughout your day is more beneficial to your body. Consuming large portions all at one will likely result in your body using small amounts for rebuilding tissue and subsequently converting the rest to carbohydrates that can either be burned as energy or get stored as fat on the body.
Another misconception is that animal proteins reduce bone density and, in turn, help cause fractures and other bone diseases. On the contrary, studies have shown that dietary proteins work synergistically with calcium to improve calcium retention and bone formation. The recommendation to intentionally restricting dietary protein to improve bone health is unwarranted, and potentially even harmful to those individuals who consume less protein. (NCBI)
For your convenience, we compiled a list of foods (plant and animal based) that are high quality protein sources.
The average egg contains 6 - 7g of protein though some large ones can contain upto 13g. The debate about what part of the egg (the egg white or the yolk) contains the highest amount of protein is needless since the entire egg is beneficial to your health.
- Chicken Breast
Incorporating chicken meals into your diet will give you the much needed protein boost for the day. The protein content per 100g of chicken breast is approximately 34g. Notably, 80% of chicken’s calories come from protein while 20% come from fat. This means that you can comfortably consume more chicken and not exceed the recommended calorie intake.
Broccoli has a high protein content as compared to other vegetables. In addition, it’s rich in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium which promotes your overall health.
- Beans and Legumes
One of very best protein sources you can eat regularly are beans and legumes. Not only are the chalk full of low fat protein, they also contain large amounts of dietary fiber as well as an abundance of vitamins and minerals.