You have always been told you need more fruits and veggies, but what about protein?
Your hair and nails are made of protein. Protein is used to build and repair muscle tissue, and makes up enzymes, hormones, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood.
It is also a macro-nutrient, meaning your body needs rather large quantities of it in order to function properly.
Here are 15 foods rich in protein that will satisfy your body’s need for protein.
Dairy and Eggs
Eggs contain 6 grams of protein per egg. This may not sound like much, but eggs have a high biological value, which is how much protein from food can actually be incorporated into protein found in the body.
Its biological value is higher than most foods you will find in the store. Be on the lookout for cartons in the store that contain eggs with omega-3.
Omega-3 has many benefits that include but are not limited to: lower triglyceride levels (meaning a lower chance to develop heart disease), improved arthritis symptoms, and protection against Alzheimer’s and dementia. Convinced yet?
2. Greek Yogurt
Containing 23 grams of protein for every 8 oz serving, this source contains twice the amount of protein that regular yogurt has. You can also get a good dose of probiotics and calcium in the process.
Another bonus: Greek yogurt contains three times less sugar than flavored types, so eat up!
3. Cottage Cheese
It has many benefits, but it has a notoriously high sodium content. To avoid the sodium content, compare nutritional labels and brands to get the healthiest option.
4. Milk (2%)
2% milk rivals the biological value of eggs, with 8 grams of protein per cup. The extra fat helps absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin D, which are also found in milk.
Studies on cows raised using organic farming methods, which means not using pesticides, fertilizers, genetically modified organisms (GMO), antibiotics and growth hormones, have shown that milk from these cows is richer in various nutrients and omega fats.
5. Pork Chops (Boneless)
It is easy to cook at 26 grams of protein for every 3 oz serving.
To break down the muscle tissue and make the meat tinder, soak it in brine that is 1/4 cup of salt for every 4 cups of water you’ve used to completely cover the pork chops. Cover and chill anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours, and enjoy cooking!
6. Chicken Breast (Boneless and Skinless)
With 24 grams of protein for every 3 oz serving, chicken breast have more protein than other cuts of poultry.
To save some money, befriend the meat guy at the supermarket. He will give you a head’s up on when poultry will be marked down so you can buy cuts for a cheaper price.
7. Turkey Breast
There is nothing too special about this meat, with 24 grams of protein for every 3 oz serving.
Like the pork chops and chicken breast, turkey breast can benefit from pre-cook brining. If you’re concerned about the use of antibiotics in poultry farming, buy turkey breast that’s labeled “antibiotic-free”.
8. Steak (Top and Bottom Round)
Packed with 23 grams of protein per 3 oz serving, the leaner cuts provide one gram of protein for every 7 calories, while the rib-eye has one gram of protein for every 11 calories. It’s also considered an economical cut, or a cheaper cut of meat.
Something to keep in mind is that leaner cuts of steak, the round and loin portions, dry out quickly when overcooked. To prevent this, cook quickly on high heat until it is medium-rare to ensure the meat stays juicy.
9. Ground Beef (95% Lean)
Besides having 18 grams of protein for every 3 oz serving, this beef has just enough fat to taste good. Besides protein, 95% lean ground beef is a good source of:
- creatine – supplies energy to cells
- niacin – lowers cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and risk of heart attack
- vitamin B12 – needed for blood cell formation, brain function, DNA synthesis
- vitamin B6 – mostly responsible for protein metabolism
- phosphorus – filters waste and repairs tissue and cells
- selenium – needed for reproduction, thyroid metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidation and infection
- zinc – involved in numerous aspects of cellular metabolism
Get grass-fed beef if you’ve got the money. It costs 2 – 3 times more than grain-fed beef, but it is more nutrient-dense.
10. Sockeye Salmon
Sockeye salmon contains 23 grams of protein for every 3 oz. serving and it taste better than its farmed cousin and supplies 25% more protein. You would also benefit from a plethora of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you would prefer a little more flavor for the dinner table, look for salmon that has skin intact.
11. Yellow Fin Tuna
This tuna is easily digested and a premium-quality protein, packed with 25 grams of protein for every 3 oz serving. This protein has a healthy amount of B vitamins and the potent antioxidant selenium.
Look for the troll- or pole-caught tuna when possible, it’s the more sustainable option.
Halibut reigns supreme in protein content among white meat. Each serving also has only 2 grams of fat per serving, making it a healthy option.
Pacific halibut is a more sustainable choice than Atlantic halibut because it is more abundant than the Atlantic type. The Atlantic halibut is rare due to over-fishing.
Octopus has 25 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving, making for a particularly high protein content for seafood. Frozen octopus is actually better than fresh octopus because freezing the meat tenderizes it.
14. Navy Beans
Navy beans are the cheapest source of protein you can find, with 20 grams of protein for every cup. It is the most common and available canned legume out there.
Every cup also offers 13 grams of dietary fiber, which helps you control your weight by making you feel full faster and helps with constipation. Be careful though: incorporate these beans slowly into your diet.
Taking in too much dietary fiber in the beginning can cause gas, bloating, and cramps.
A few brands like Wild Planet pack beans in cans that are not lined with BPA, or bisphenol A. BPA is used to make certain resins, like the epoxy resin that coats the insides of metal products like cans.
It can seep into the food and damage the brain, behavior, and prostate glands of fetuses, infants, and children. Some studies have also shown that it can have an effect on blood pressure.
15. Mixed Nuts
A mix of peanuts, cashews, and almonds add not just 6 grams of protein for every 2 oz. serving, but it also adds healthy unsaturated fats to your diet. These fats reduce heart disease and lower your cholesterol levels.
If you are watching your sodium intake, look for packages labelled “unsalted”.
Protein is just as important to your diet as fruits and vegetables. All kinds of proteins can offer all types of benefits, from lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart attack risk, down to incorporating more dietary fiber into your diet.
We wanted to make sure that you were able to incorporate protein sources from several groups into your diet, so we made sure to include sources from dairy and eggs, meats, seafood, canned goods, and snacks.
There are plenty of other sources of protein available, but we’ve given you a starting point. Protein makes up a good portion of your body and is responsible for keeping your muscles, tissue, enzymes, bones, cartilage, skin, blood, enzymes, and hormones working.
Be sure to have a full and balanced diet, making sure that protein has its rightful place. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get plenty of exercise and sleep, and take care.