Humans are creatures of habit — You, Me, All of us. As we grow old, we become more rigid and set in our ways, especially when it comes to food. But it’s time to shake things up and start with your go-to proteins – high protein foods.
What are Proteins?
Proteins are large molecules consisting of amino acids which our bodies need to function appropriately. Our body contains significant amounts of protein. In fact, protein accounts for 20% of our total body weight.
Enzymes, hormones and antibodies – all are proteins. They also work as neurotransmitters and carriers of oxygen in the blood.
Proteins and Amino Acids – Proteins which are the building blocks of our body are made up of 20 amino acids. Just as we need different types of bricks to make different kinds of houses, we need different kinds of amino acids. Amino acids are the bricks and Proteins the houses.
The 20 different amino acids are: alanine, arginine, asparagines, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine – histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and valine.
They can be arranged in innumerable different ways to create millions of different proteins. Each of the proteins performs a specific function in the body.
How much Protein do we need?
The quantity of protein you need depends on your age, weight and levels of activity. Children and adolescents who are in their growing and developing stage need more protein in their diets as compared to the adults. People exercise more or are involved in many activities need a little more protein than those who are living a sedentary lifestyle. The reason is that protein is essential in building and repairing muscle and other tissues so all those who are regular in their exercise or gym and trying to develop muscles need proportionately more protein than others.
Now, how can I calculate the amount of protein I need?
It is very simple
To calculate how much should be your daily intake of protein: multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8. The answer will give you the number of grams of protein you should munch every day.
For instance, if you weigh 100kg you should consume around 80grams of protein in a day.
What are the Different Kinds of Proteins?
Protein that comes from animal sources, such as meat and milk, is considered to be complete, as it contains all nine of the essential amino acids. On the other hand, many vegetable proteins is called incomplete because it lacks one or more of the essential amino acids. This can be a major concern for those who don’t eat meat or milk products.
Vegetarians – don’t worry!
You can still get all your essential amino acids if you eat high protein foods consisting of vegetables and fruits.
For example, you cannot get all the amino acids you need from peanuts alone, but if you consume peanut butter on whole-grain bread, you are set. Similarly, red beans alone won’t give you all you need, but red beans and rice can do the trick.
Also Read: Iron rich Foods for Vegetarians
High Protein Foods to Lose Weight
Many of us have gotten into a rut. We rely on few sources of protein. This will cause not only taste bud fatigue, but will also deprive your body of health-boosting nutrients found in high protein foods which you have been overlooking.
To help you break free of your oh-so-boring grilled chicken and egg routine, I have compiled a list of the best-ever proteins for weight loss across every food category. Whether you love fish, or are a fan of dairy products or stick to a meat-free meal plan, I have here the best options for your waistline.
Read on to know more about high protein foods and be sure to pick a few of these the next time you head to the grocery store.
Fruits and Vegetables
Popeye’s favorite veggie is not only a rich source of protein, but also contains high amounts of vitamins A and C, antioxidants and heart-healthy folate. One cup of this superfood contains as much protein as a hard-boiled egg—for fewer calories. To get the best out of spinach steam it rather than eating it raw. This helps retain vitamins and makes it easy for the body to absorb the calcium content of this leafy vegetable. Add a handful to soups, omelets, pasta dishes and veggie stir-fries, or simply steam it and top with pepper, garlic, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
Protein Content: 1 cup (cooked), 41 calories, 5 gm of protein
Just a single cup of the sun-dried tomatoes will give you 6 gm of satiating protein and 7 gm of fiber and three-fourth of your requirement of potassium, which is important for heart health and tissue repair. Tomatoes are also rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin, and stomach cancers. Use them as a pizza topping or a tangy addition to your salads.
Protein Content: 1 cup, 139 calories, 6 gm protein
The highest-protein fruit, guava contains more than 4 gm of protein per cup. Apart from that it also contains 9 gm of fiber and only 112 calories. With 600% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C per cup, this fruit is a must eat.
Protein Content: 1 cup, 112 calories, 4.2 gm protein
Artichokes have almost double the amount of fiber as kale (10.3 gm per medium artichoke, or 40% of the daily fiber the average woman needs) and one of the highest protein counts among vegetables. Boil and eat it as a salad or peel and pop the hearts onto healthy pizzas and flatbreads.
Protein Content: 1 medium vegetable, 60 calories, 4.2 gm protein
Among the other high protein foods are peas. A cup of green peas contains 8 times the protein of a cup of spinach. And with almost 100% of your daily requirement of vitamin C in a single cup, they will also help improve your immune system.
Protein Content: 1 cup, 118 calories, 8 gm protein
When it comes to steak or burgers, go grass-fed. It may ding your purse, but it will dent your abs. Grass-fed beef is naturally leaner and has fewer calories than conventional meat: A lean seven-ounce conventional strip steak has 386 calories and 16 gm of fat. But a seven-ounce grass-fed strip steak has only 234 calories and 5 gm of fat. Grass-fed meat also contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Protein Content: 4 oz strip steak, 133 calories, 26 gm protein
Ostrich meat is the rising star of the grill. A four-ounce patty contains around 30 gm of the muscle building nutrient and just 6 gm of fat. In addition, one serving of Ostrich meat has 200% of the daily requirement of vitamin B-12. This exotic meat can also help whittle your middle.
Protein Content: 4 oz patty, 194 calories, 29 gm protein
We already know that fish is one of the best high protein foods but it may come as a surprise to you that halibut tops fiber-rich oatmeal and vegetables in the satiety department. According to the studies the filling factor of white fish like halibut is rich in protein content and also influences serotonin, one of the key hormones accountable for appetite signals.
Protein Content: 3 oz, 77 calories, 16 gm protein
One of the other high protein foods that need to be mentioned is Salmon. No doubt it has high calories and fat content but it is one of the best oily fish for weight loss. (In fact, it is one of the fatty foods that help you lose weight). This is a protein-rich fish you should not miss!
Protein Content: 3 oz, 121 calories, 17 gm protein
A regular serving of Pacific cod, the fish that’s typical of fish sticks, will help you keep stick thin. According to the study, if you eat five servings of cod per week as part of a low-calorie diet for eight weeks you can lose an extra 3.8 pounds of weight as compared to a diet with the same amount of calories but no fish. This is attributed to cod’s rich protein content and amino acid profile, which helps in regulating the body metabolism.
Protein Content: 3 oz, 70 calories, 15 gm protein
Poultry and Egg
Lean and protein-rich, turkey is no longer a substitute for red meat–it has its own properties. A quarter-pound turkey burger patty contains 140 calories, 16 gm of protein and 8 gm of fat. Plus, turkey is rich in DHA omega-3 acids which boosts brain function, improves the mood and turn off fat genes. Be careful that you buy white meat only; the dark one contains too much fat.
Protein Content: Quarter-pound turkey burger, 140 calories, 16 gm protein
Among other high protein foods is Chicken. A 3 oz. cooked chicken breast is filled with a whopping 26 gm of protein with only 142 calories and 3 gm of fat,
Protein Content: 3 oz. cooked breast, 142 calories, 26 gm protei
Eggs are the easiest, cheapest and most versatile high protein foods. Apart from fulfilling your daily protein requirement, each 85-calorie eggs is filled with a solid 7 gm of the muscle-builder! Eggs also boost your health: They’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants and iron.
Protein Content: 1 egg, 85 calories, 7 gm protein
Beans and Legumes
Beans are good not only for heart but also has many other health benefits. They contain high amounts of proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are good for your brain and muscles. At the same time, they take time to digest, and thus makes you feel fuller for a long time and fuel weight loss efforts without causing feelings of deprivation.
Protein Content: 1/2 cup, 109-148 calories, 7-10 gm of protein
Here are some appealing proportions: One cup of lentils has the protein of three eggs, with less than one gram of fat! Their high fiber content makes them extremely satiating, and they speed fat loss. Research indicates that found that people who included four weekly servings of legumes lost more weight and also improved their cholesterol levels more than people who didn’t.
Protein Content: 1 cup, 230 calories, 18 gm protein
This creamy spread is completely addictive. While eating too much peanut butter can cause havoc on your waistline, a standard two-tablespoon serving provides a proper dose of muscle-building protein and healthy fats. According to a study consuming peanuts can prevent both cardiovascular and coronary artery disease.
Protein Content: 2 tablespoons, 191 calories, 7 gm of protein
Among other high protein foods is Grain Bread. The grain bread is loaded with folate-filled lentils, protein and healthy-for-you grains and seeds like barley and millet. To enhance the flavour of your slices, make a veggie sandwich teeming with wholesome nutrients.
Protein Content: Two slices, 138-220 calories, 8-12 gm protein
This nutty-flavoured grain may be small, but it is loaded with a mighty nutritional punch. It contains lots of fiber, essential amino acids, calcium and vitamin C — a nutrient not typically found in grains. To reap the benefits, replace your morning oatmeal with a protein-packed teff porridge.
Protein Content: 1/4 cup, 180 calories, 7 gm of protein
It is a grain that is at present among the world’s most popular superfoods. It is high in many vitamins, minerals and fiber, and is loaded with antioxidants. It contains high amounts of proteins with all the essential amino acids. Quinoa has numerous health benefits. It helps in controlling blood sugar and maintain metabolism
Protein Content: One cup of cooked quinoa, 222 calories,8 gm protein
Milk is highly nutritious and one of the best high protein foods, but the problem is that many adults are intolerant to it. However, if you tolerate milk and enjoy drinking it, then milk can be an excellent source of protein. Milk contains some amount of almost every single nutrient needed by the body.It is particularly high in calcium, phosphorus and riboflavin (vitamin B2).
Protein Content: 21% of calories. 1 cup whole milk, 149 calories, 8 gm protein
Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt. It tastes delicious, has a creamy texture, and is high in many nutrients. In addition to containing high amounts of protein, yogurt has healthy bacteria and probiotics which keep your gut healthy. Just make sure to choose one without added sugar. Full-fat Greek yogurt contains more calories.
Protein Content: 7 oz, 150 calories, 20 gm protein
Nuts and Seeds
Chia seeds are among the healthiest foods on the earth. They are packed with nutrients that have important benefits for your body and brain. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants and are rich in protein that helps you lose weight.
Protein Content: 1 oz, 138 calories, 5 gm protein
23. Pumpkin Seeds
Dr. Lindsey Duncan, a nutritionist says,“A handful of raw pepitas or dry roasted pumpkin seeds can give you a natural jolt to power through a workout”. “They’re a good source of protein, healthy fats and fiber, keeping you feeling full and energized longer, and contain manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, which provide additional energy support to maximize gym time.” Throw them into salads and rice dishes or eat them raw.
Protein Content: 1 oz, 158 calories, 9 gm protein
Each almond can be regarded as a natural weight-loss pill. They are loaded with important nutrients, including fiber, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. They are loaded with antioxidants and high in Vitamin E, which protects your cell membranes from damage. Being high in both protein and fiber, they reduce hunger. Almonds also help in controlling blood sugar levels.
Protein Content: 1 oz, 164 calories, 6 gm protein
Cashews are good source of protein, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and copper. Magnesium has many health benefits such as helping your body relieve various conditions like constipation, insomnia, headaches and muscle cramps, as well as regulating the immune system and supporting brain function.
Protein Content: 1 oz, 157 calories, 5 gm protein
Choose your own favourite combination of high protein foods — now that you’re a pro at protein!