There are different food items that can be good sources of protein. But not all of them are natural or healthy. The main benefit of natural protein sources is that the protein from these foods is absorbed in the body easily. Moreover, these natural foods are free from artificial preservatives, flavor, or extra sugar. If you are in a weight loss or fat burning process then these foods are ideal for you.
The Natural Sources
The main natural sources of protein include:
- Amino Acid Producing Foods
- Meat, Eggs and Dairy
- Fish and Seafood
- Plant Proteins
Amino Acid Producing Foods
The building blocks of protein are known as amino acids. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids and each of them has its unique set of biological functions. The presence of these amino acids inside the body is vital though your body requires food supplies in order to produce these acids. A high quality protein producing food typically has all of these 20 essential amino acids present in it. A high quality protein is also known as complete protein. On the other side, there are foods that contain some of the essential acids but not all. These foods require to be added with other foods to combine all essential amino acids and in this way create the high quality complete protein. It is recommended that average 2 to 3 servings of protein intake per day should make 20 to 30 percent of the total calorie intake for that day.
Meat, Eggs and Dairy Foods
As discussed, complete proteins are the high quality proteins. Some of the best sources of this complete protein include beef, poultry, eggs and dairy. You will get 7 grams of protein from the combination of 1 egg, 2 egg whites plus 1 ounce of meat, poultry and cheese. In this way, you will get 21 grams of protein from 3-ounce serving of these foods. And you will get 8 to 11 grams of protein from Milk and Yogurt (per cup). Moreover, you are getting extra calcium and vitamin D from dairy foods. On the other side, meats will provide you with iron, zinc, B vitamins. In selecting these foods, you need to particularly emphasis on leaner meats and fat-free dairy foods.
Fish and Seafood
Almost all fishes are good sources of protein. Among the fishes Cod, Tuna, Salmon are traditionally well known for containing lots of protein in them. Fishes are always considered a healthy food for many reasons. Many important nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids are also there in fishes.
Seafood like Shrimp is a common food item and a good source of protein. Shrimp is low in calories and it contains various nutrients. 19 grams of protein can be found per 3 ounce (85 g) serving of fish (175 calories). In addition, 18 grams of protein can be found per 3 ounce (85 g) serving of shrimp (84 calories).
Plant Protein Foods
You can get proteins from plant as well. But these are incomplete proteins of lean type. In addition, you can get vitamins, fibers and other nutrients from plants. For example, you will get 9 grams of protein from 1/2-cup serving of protein rich legumes. These include lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans (generally used along with Tofu). You will get 7 grams of protein from 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, seeds, or nuts. Moreover, in addition you are getting B-complex vitamins, magnesium, and iron. In case of grain foods, you will get 3 grams of protein per serving of these foods. These include rice, pasta, whole-grain breads, and cereal. Interestingly, if you combine plant proteins with dairy foods or grains you will get a complete protein. Examples of such combinations can be between cereal and milk, rice and beans, or whole-grain bread with peanut butter. Talking about vegetables, they contain small amount of protein element. And there is no protein in fruits.
Last update: May 27, 2017 04:43:58 pm