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What Are the Best Kinds of Protein?

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What Are the Best Kinds of Protein?

Protein is lauded as one of the most important components of our nutrition. It’s a micronutrient that helps us build muscle. You can get protein from a variety of sources like meats, fish, eggs and even quinoa, just to name a few. Each source has a different amount of protein, some higher than others. There also protein powders used in shakes as meal supplements. These powders come in different types and flavors. When you look at all the different sources of this very important micronutrient, it can become a little overwhelming. Not all proteins are created equal and some foods are better for our health than others. We decided to go over some of the most popular types of foods and protein powders available. Here’s what you need to know.

 

  1. Whole Foods are Best
  2. What About Protein Powders?
  3. Can you have too much Protein?

 

Whole Foods are Best

 

While you might have already known, eating whole, all-natural foods are the best way to get your nutrients. That includes protein. Protein comes from a whole bunch of different sources. It helps build your muscles and oxygenate red blood cells. It also helps digestion by absorption in enzymes. Protein also helps with hormone regulation. Depending on your diet or eating plans, you might find it easier or harder to incorporate it into your meals. The good thing is, it doesn’t matter if you’re a meat-eater or a vegetarian. It’s not all about red meat. There’s plenty of high-protein f foods for both types of eaters. Here’s a few good choices.

Eggs: Eggs are often called the perfect protein. The reason for this is that eggs are almost entirely made of it! Most of it comes from the egg white. The egg white is entirely made of high-quality protein. One whole egg provides 6 grams. They’re considered one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and are super versatile in cooking.

Nuts & Seeds: The protein content of nuts varies across the different types. That said, they are a significant source of fiber, healthy fats, and other nutrients which make them a good snack. Though they are higher in fat than protein, they still make a good choice. Grab one serving of almonds for the same amount of protein as an egg! Pistachios, walnuts and cashews are also good options.

Beans: Beans and legumes are a lot like nuts. They’re high in fiber, a good source of and a good source of protein. Some of the best beans are chickpeas and lentils. One cup of chickpeas provides 15 grams of protein. Lentils have a higher count with 18 grams!

Grilled chicken breast and tomatoes

Lean meats: Everyone knows that having some meat in your diet equates to protein. If you’re not a vegetarian, choose lean meats like chicken and turkey breast. Other meats like pork and steak are also good choices in moderation. A diet high in red meat can be detrimental to your heart health, but having a juicy steak once in a while doesn’t hurt. It also provides a whopping 23-28 grams of protein.

Fish: There’s so many different types of fish that you can add to your diet. Salmon provides good healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It has quite a few other health benefits. It’s recommended to eat salmon about three times a week. Another good fish to incorporate are sardines. It’s also a great source of omega-3s. If you like tuna, grab a can of albacore and chow down. Not only will you get all your protein, but you’ll definitely have enough omega-3s!

Soy & Dairy: Milk products a great source of high-quality protein. It contains two types: whey and casein protein, the two most popular types of powders available. But you don’t have to get protein powder to get the benefits. Drinking a glass of milk will provide you with 8 grams. If you prefer cheese, ricotta, Parmesan, cottage cheese and cheddar are all good sources. Just be sure not to eat too much of it. For those with milk intolerance, soy can be a good alternative. Soy milk and tofu contains no cholesterol and provides iron and calcium.

A spoon full of chocolate protein powder

What About Protein Powders?

Go into any vitamin shop and you’ll find an array of workout enhancing powders and supplements. They come in all sorts of flavors like chocolate, vanilla and berry. These powders might have labels on them such as “pre-workout” or “post-workout”. Those are the times at which you should take them to gain the most benefit. Studies on the veracity of these claims are varied, but having a protein shake after a workout can help build further muscle. There are also numerous brands of protein bars. Unfortunately, many of these are loaded with sugars and artificial ingredients. These are unlike our fruit and nut bars which are made only with real fruits and nuts. While most of your protein intake should come from whole foods, having a protein shake is good too. Using one as a meal supplement for weight loss is one such way. With this in mind, not all protein bars or powders are made equally. Here’s a good way to pick the good from the bad.

Whey Protein: Whey protein is the most popular form of protein. It’s derived from milk and easy to digest. They come in all sorts of flavors, but some are made with too much sugar. Choosing a “plain” flavor like chocolate or vanilla can reduce the amount of sugar. Whey contains Branch-Chained Amino Acids or BCAA. These are leucine, isoleucine and vasine. Leucine is very important for helping to build muscle. If you’re looking to really get into exercise, why can be a great addition to your nutrition. Make sure you pay close attention to the ingredients list. The first ingredient should always be Whey Isolate and the list should not be very long. The most it should have is the Whey Isolate and artificial flavorings. Research the brand you want to purchase from as some powders have shown signs of contaminants.

Casein Protein: Similar to whey protein, casein protein is also a form of protein that comes from milk. It is a slow digesting protein that can help build muscle, just like whey. It has less BCAAs, but in general the two are pretty similar when it comes to nutritional value. Casein takes longer to digest than whey, meaning it feeds the cells for longer. It maintain muscle growth at a steadier rate than whey. Much like whey protein powders, it comes in several different flavors from multiple brands. Make sure to check the ingredients. Buy powders that don’t include a lot of sugar.

If you prefer to skip over the milk proteins, there are plenty of plant-base ones as well. Soy protein powder has gained popularity over the years. It’s another complete protein and therefore is well-absorbed by the body. Protein powders also contain other essential vitamins and nutrients. Shakes make great meal replacements if you’re looking for a quick and healthy way to lower your caloric intake.

raw steak getting prepared

 

Can You Have Too Much Protein?

The recommended protein intake for adult men is 56 grams and 46 grams for women. This does not take into account body weight or lifestyle. As a general guideline it’s a good one to follow when you’re first starting out. While protein is essential to your diet, you can have too much of a good thing. At one time, a high-protein diet was thought to cause kidney issues. Studies have since debunked that myth. However, having too much protein can cause weight gain. If you’re looking to lose weight, then it’s best to moderate your protein intake.

There are a few other health risks. A diet high in red meat has been linked to cancer. People with pre-existing kidney problems may also have issues with absorbing lots of protein. However, if you’re healthy, eating a good amount for your weight and lifestyle is good for you. The consensus from experts says that you should eat .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you become more active or weight train, the amount can be higher as you build muscle. 

Get Snack Less

The best diet is made of whole foods with lots of fruits and vegetables. Focus on eating a balanced meal. If you do that, then there’s no need to worry. If you’re worried about the mid-day snacking, that’s where we can help. Our bars are made of dates for tasty sweet flavor and packed with good-for-you nuts. Try our date, cashew and cranberry fruit and nut bar. It contains 6 grams of proteins from all the great seeds and nuts. Or maybe you would prefer dates, coconuts and walnuts. With all the great ingredients, including our special Hoodia parviflora, you’ll stay full between meals. No need to go for the mid-day chips. We’ll help keep you on your diet so you can reach a healthier version of yourself.