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Monday, November 29, 2010

Good Protein Foods

Protein is one of the essential nutrients required by the body to carry out numerous biochemical processes including, metabolism. Proteins are made of amino acids and so, amino acids are termed as the building blocks of proteins. There are basically 22 amino acids that the human body needs for protein synthesis and various other crucial functions. Out of these 22 amino acids, a few can be produced or synthesized by the human body, and these amino acids are known as non essential amino acids. But, there are 8 essential amino acids, which the human body cannot synthesize on its own and hence, we have to obtain these amino acids from the diet. The foods that can provide these essential amino acids are of immense importance for human health. Such foods are considered as the good protein foods. Given below is some more information about the high protein foods.

Good Protein Food Sources

The foods that are considered as good sources of proteins are, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and legumes, whole grains and cereals, vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds. These are the main components of a high protein diet. Out of these, animal-based foods can provide all the essential amino acids and therefore, they are considered as the complete protein sources. On the other hand, majority of plant foods do not contain all the essential amino acids, except a few products like, soy beans. The different categories of good protein sources are explained below.

Whole Grains and Cereals
Whole grains and cereals are one of the most important groups of high protein foods. Rich in proteins and carbohydrates, whole grains and cereals are the nutritious foods to be included in a balanced and healthy diet. A list of good protein foods to eat in this category is given below:
  • Whole wheat
  • Whole wheat flour and foods prepared from it
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Wheat bagel
  • Oat bran
  • Oatmeal
  • Rye
  • Corn and cornmeal
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • White rice
Meat, Fish and Eggs
Meat and fish are the complete protein foods, i.e. they can provide all the 8 essential amino acids. They are also the good protein foods to build muscles. Below here is a list of these protein rich foods:
  • Chicken
  • Lean chicken breast
  • Turkey
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Organ meat (liver, heart and kidney)
  • Swordfish
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Haddock
  • Rock fish
  • Cod
  • Halibut
  • Crustacean (shrimp, prawns, lobsters and crabs)
  • Egg and egg whites
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and dairy products are the foods high in proteins and fats. Dairy products are the high protein foods for vegetarians, who cannot consume meat, eggs and fish. If you are concerned about the high fat content of milk and dairy products, you can opt for their low fat versions. This will help you to keep the total intake of fat low, while getting sufficient amounts of proteins. Some of the good sources of protein in this category are:
  • Milk, skimmed milk
  • Low fat cottage cheese
  • Cheddar
  • Low fat ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Muenster Cheese
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are the good protein foods for weight loss, as they can help to feel full for longer and reduce hunger. They are the important components of a high protein diet. A list of high protein foods in this category is given below:
  • Kidney beans
  • Small red beans
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Mung beans
  • Lima beans
  • Lentils
  • Soy beans
  • Edamame
  • Pinto beans
  • Navy beans
  • Split peas
Protein Rich Vegetables
Some vegetables too can provide significant amounts of proteins. Therefore, vegetables are another sources of good protein foods for vegetarians. A balanced diet is simply incomplete without vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and antioxidants, along with proteins. The vegetables high in proteins are:
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Beetroot
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Dandelion greens
  • Garlic
  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Sweet potato
  • Okra
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Radish
  • Tomato
  • Yam
Fruits High in Protein
Rich in vitamin, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fiber and protein, fruits are one of the nutritious foods to be included in a healthy diet. The most important high proteins fruits are given below:
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Berries
  • Coconut
  • Fig
  • Cherries
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Mangosteen
  • Watermelon
Other Good Protein Foods
Dried fruits, nuts, seeds and soy products are some other foods that can provide sufficient amounts of proteins. Below here is the high protein foods list of this category:
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peacans
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk
  • Tempeh
  • Coconut milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flaxseed
Hope by now, you have got a fair idea about the good protein foods. Inclusion of these protein rich foods in the regular diet can help one to get enough of this nutrient required for various crucial biochemical processes of the body.

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