[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nyone who is looking to gain weight, build muscles or just adopt a healthier lifestyle, would have come across the subject of protein rich foods. That is because protein is one of the major factors for muscle repair and growth. A diet consisting of protein rich foods, therefore, is the foundation of building a better healthier body.
Before you start putting your body through demanding workouts, you need to think about your diet and nutritional requirements. Regardless of your activity level, your body needs vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to function properly. Protein is one of them. It is responsible for muscle growth. The muscle tissue gets torn after a workout and consuming protein rich foods aids repair and growth.
[pull_quote_center]Because protein is a building block for all life, it is found in most food sources in the form of amino acids. There are non essential and essential amino acids. The body can produce non essential amino acids but it gets its essential amino acids from food.[/pull_quote_center]
There are many protein rich foods containing both types of amino acids. Choosing the right ones depends on personal taste, dietary requirements and protein needs. Meat and fish tend to be richer in protein than fruit and vegetables. Eggs, cheese and dairy products are also good sources of protein.
MEAT AND POULTRY
Meat and poultry are both protein rich foods. Professional bodybuilders and athletes tend to be partial to lean cuts of beef, chicken and turkey.
Protein rich meat (per 100g):
- Venison – 30.21g
- Chicken breast – 23.5g
- Turkey breast – 22.3g
- Beef fillet steak – 20.9g
Fish is arguably the best source of essential amino acids needed for muscle tissue repair and growth. It contains six times more protein than dairy products making it one of the most protein rich foods.
Protein rich fish (per 100g):
- Tuna fish (tinned) – 26.3g
- Tuna fish steak – 25.6g
- Salmon fish fillets – 21.6g
- Sardines – 21.5g
- Prawns – 17.0g
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Fruit and vegetables are a great source of protein and other essential nutrients. They contain fibre and many vitamins the body needs to function properly. Vegetables such as potatoes are also high in carbohydrates.
Protein rich fruit and vegetables (per 100g):
- Soya beans – 35.9g
- Rice (brown) – 6.9g
- Baked beans – 9.5g
- Asparagus – 2.9g
- Spinach – 2.8g
- Potatoes – 2.1g
- Avocado – 1.9g
- Bananas – 1.2g
NUTS AND SEEDS
As well as being high in protein, nuts are full of good fats too. They are also beneficial to the brain and nervous system, because up to 60% of the human brain is made up from good fats.
Protein rich nuts and seeds (per 100g):
- Pumpkin seeds – 28.8g
- Peanut butter (crunchy) – 24.9g
- Sunflower seeds – 23.4g
- Almond nuts – 21.1g
EGGS, CHEESE AND DIARY PRODUCTS
Even though eggs are relatively high in fat, they are a great protein source (egg whites) for muscle building. Cheese could also be high in fat but a low fat cottage cheese is high in protein and makes a great protein snack. Dairy products are high in calcium and vitamin D. They are the ideal post workout snack packed with high quality protein.
Protein rich eggs, cheese and dairy products (per 100g):
- Eggs – 12.5g
- Cottage cheese – 12.2g
- Yoghurt – 4.5g
- Milk (semi skimmed) – 3.6g
- Milk (whole) – 3.3g
Protein rich foods and their effect on the human body have been the subject of much research and many scientific reports. Even though meat is higher in protein, some studies suggest that it is better to eat more fruit and vegetables because they contain fibre and other vital nutrients.
[quote_box_center]It is important to remember that any diet should be nutritionally balanced and, if in doubt, consult with your doctor or dietician first.[/quote_box_center]