A Passion for Protein

Protein-based diets show no signs of reducing in popularity. If anything, they are becoming more widely adopted than ever, as people discover that high-protein means weight loss and fitness benefits. So what’s all the fuss about, and what kind of foods contain the most protein? I looked into high-protein diets, and this is what I found.

Why Protein?

Your body does not store protein and needs a fair amount of it each day, along with a daily requirement of fat and carbohydrate. Protein is important as it is an essential element of each cell in our bodies. Our nails and hair are mostly made of protein, and the body uses protein to repair itself and to build up tissue. Protein is needed for virtually every function of the human body, from building bones, muscles, skin, blood and muscles to manufacturing hormones and enzymes. Protein is important. Those who seek to build muscle or loose weight often opt for high-protein diets, as results can be seen very quickly.

What Are the Best Sources of Protein

Best Sources of Protein

Fish

Fish, particularly salmon, contains a great deal of protein. It has the added bonus of providing very healthy omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, which help with your joints, cell health and concentration. You can chose healthy farmed salmon or wild salmon, but be aware that farmed salmon is slightly fattier than wild salmon, with less omega-3s. Salmon is light and filling and goes really well with asparagus, haricot beans or broccoli.

Meat

High protein meat is a brilliant source of protein, as it contains other elements we need for health. These elements include essential and non-essential amino acids, zinc and iron. Chicken is low in fat but high in protein and can be cooked in so many different ways that you never need get bored. White turkey breast meat is the leanest source of meat you can find. It is handy to have some wafer-thin turkey meat from the deli to snack on. Beef is another excellent source of protein and is also packed with extra zinc and creatine. Grass-fed beef is leaner than farmed. Meat for athletes and body builders is so popular that you can now get it delivered to your door by health food outlets, as I found on this site.

Eggs

These are a great favourite with protein fanatics. They are great for athletes recovering from endurance events and those building muscle and fitness. Eggs are self-packaged, sterile, cheap and easily available. They also contain vitamin D and cholesterol – both of which support muscle building. There was concern about eggs and cholesterol in recent years, but research now tells us that these fears were largely unfounded. Use both white and yolk when eating eggs.

Whey

Whey protein is a liquid by-product that remains after the various stages of cheese production. Cheese makers used to throw these by-products away. The other by-product is casein. Both are high in protein. Whey accounts for roughly 20% of the protein in milk and is ideal for fitness as it is absorbed quickly. Whey has many added health benefits, and is widely used in powder form by athletes. The best natural source of whey is from ricotta cheese.

Image credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_spivack/55837869/

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