My last few articles have focussed on protein, the health benefits you can enjoy by eating it and the disadvantages of consuming too much. However, I have not yet given too much attention to the topic of protein sources. That is why today I want to discuss six of the top dietary sources of protein. All these sources are healthy foods which provide you with more than just protein and if you do not eat them already I would highly recommend that you add them to your diet.
1) EGGS:- Eggs contain around 5.5g of protein each and are relatively low in calories with a medium egg containing approximately 68. They are also a good source of vitamins B2, B5, B12 and D which collectively help your body break down food for energy, produce red blood cells, produce hormones, absorb other vitamins and promote strong bones and teeth. On top of this eggs are also linked with improved mental and cardiovascular health. As well as being a fantastic health food, eggs are extremely versatile. They can be eaten as a standalone food either hard boiled, soft boiled, poached, fried or scrambled. Eggs can also be used as part of a meal either as an omelette (just add some meat, vegetables, milk, cheese or whatever else you fancy) or as part of a tasty sauce.
2) CHICKEN:- Chicken is another fantastic protein source with a 100g skinless breast fillet coming in at 21.8g of protein and 116 calories. It is a relatively low fat meat choice and contains high levels of vitamin B3 and B6 which support a healthy digestive system, a healthy nervous system and assist with the production of red blood cells and various hormones. Chicken is also a rich source of selenium, an antioxidant which protects your body from free radicals (harmful by products that are released when your body uses oxygen). Like eggs, chicken is another flexible food choice that can be eaten in many forms. It can be eaten on its own, used as a sandwich filler, added to a curry, casserole or stew or mixed with a selection of healthy vegetables to create a nutritious evening meal.
3) BEEF:- Many people avoid beef because they believe the high levels of saturated fat make it a poor food choice. However, beef is actually a very good source of protein with a 100g slice of lean, roast beef containing around 26.1g of protein and just 3.6g of fat. Apart from the high protein content, beef has further health benefits. It is rich in vitamins B2, B3, B6 and B12 which as discussed above perform a variety of important functions in your body. Beef also contains high levels of selenium (which as discussed above protects your body from free radicals) and zinc (which can help protect your blood vessels from damage and supports a strong immune system). When it comes to cooking and eating this meat there are a variety of options. Roast beef is an excellent sandwich filler and if you add a few vegetables it makes a perfect family meal. Like chicken, it is also a fantastic addition to a curry, casserole or stew.
4) SALMON:- Salmon fillets weigh in at 140 calories per 100g and each fillet also provides you with 20g of protein and 6g of fat. Whilst it may seem like a relatively fatty protein choice, salmon provides your body with essential omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are vital for good health with some of their most important functions including reducing inflammation in your body, protecting your blood vessels from damage and preventing cancer cells from developing. Salmon also provides you with vitamin B3, B12 and D which each assist your body in performing various vital functions. On top of this salmon is thought to have mood boosting properties and prevent age related mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Whilst fish is not everyone’s favourite food choice, salmon is reasonably versatile. It can be eaten raw (in the form of smoked salmon), grilled, steamed or fried. Salmon also complements many vegetables perfectly and the two can be combined to create a healthy, nutritious main meal.
5) TUNA:- Tuna is another great protein source with 100g of tinned tuna providing you with 24.4g of protein. Since it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and contains high levels of vitamin B6 tuna offers similar health benefits to salmon. These benefits include improved cardiovascular health, mood boosting properties, protection against cancer and protection from age related mental conditions. When it comes to eating tuna there are many options. It can be eaten raw, cooked, combined with rice or pasta or added to a casserole.
6) ALMONDS:- Almonds are a great protein source provided you consume them in moderation. A 100g portion of these nuts provides your body with 23.4g but it comes at a cost of 612 calories. Almonds are high in both vitamin B2 and vitamin E which help your body absorb other vitamins, produce red blood cells and also offer protection from cancer and diabetes. They are also rich in copper, manganese, magnesium and potassium which help your body produce energy and support a healthy cardiovascular system. Although almonds are a bit more limited when it comes to how you eat them you still have a few choices and can either be eaten on their own or as part of a mixed fruit and nut selection.
Protein is an essential building block for your body but if you make the right protein choices in your diet you can enjoy numerous health benefits too. All of the above foods are rich in various vitamins, essential fatty acids and other important minerals. If none of the above foods are currently part of your diet then I highly recommend that you make some changes and start eating them more regularly. By doing so you can ensure that your body remains strong, fit and healthy and provide it with the protein it needs.