In case you're a little rusty on your sciences, proteins are large, complex molecules made up of smaller molecules called amino acids. Proteins are an essential part of our wellbeing as they are found in every cell of our bodies. Proteins are critical for cell repair, building and maintaining body tissue. Proteins also make enzymes, hormones and other important chemicals in our bodies. For proper growth and development, proteins should be a part of everyone's diet and are extremely important for children, teens, and pregnant women.
Our bodies are not capable of producing the necessary and essential amino acids on its own. The proteins we consume in our diets are broken down into amino acids by our bodies during the digestion stage which then produce the amino acids that are crucial to our overall health. Bottom line is protein is a requirement for proper health and wellbeing.
It's suggested that adults consume 10 to 35 percent of their daily calories from protein food sources. This accounts for about 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men. Eating high protein foods can also make you feel fuller after a meal, which can justify smaller portions. Now this is not to say that everyone should go out and order a 12oz steak for dinner. There are great food sources that are high in protein but you should try to avoid those that are also high in saturated fats. Below are some lean protein foods that you can easily incorporate into your daily diet.
FishDifferent types of fish are an excellent way to obtain protein in your diet. The total protein will vary depending on the species but you can receive nearly half of your daily protein from a serving. Halibut, rainbow trout, swordfish, orange roughy and tuna all contain ample amounts of lean protein.
White MeatIf you love chicken or turkey you're in luck as both provide protein. A 3oz severing of turkey or chicken can provide approximately 26 grams of protein. Again that equates to nearly half of your necessary daily recommendations for protein intake. You should remove the skin or limit any skin consumption. This will help lower total fat and cholesterol intake.
BeansThere are many types of cooked beans and legumes that are protein rich. For example, a half cup serving of soybeans can contain nearly 34 grams of protein. Split peas have nearly 16grams of protein in a 1 cup serving. Lima beans, black beans, kidney beans and lentils are other beans that are also high in protein.
Yogurt, Cheese and MilkSkim or low fat milk and yogurt both offer a source of protein too. An 8oz glass of skim milk will have approximately 8 grams of protein. Low fat yogurt will have about 12 grams of protein per 8 oz serving. Greek yogurt can contain higher amounts of protein in the range of 18 to 20 grams of protein. Low fat cheese such as cottage cheese can contain nearly 11 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup serving.
VegetablesYep, they have the proteins necessary for our bodies too. A 1 cup serving Spinach can contain about 5 grams of protein. Asparagus, artichokes and brussel sprouts are other vegetables that will provide a means to increase your daily protein intake. 1 cup of brussel sprouts will have approximately 3 grams of protein and 1 medium sized artichoke will have about 4 grams of protein.
This is just a small list of lean protein that one can easily incorporate into their diets. Creating a daily menu to meet your daily required protein intake should not be too difficult if you split it up throughout the day. Here's to healthy eating!