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Inside Our Food

7 Foods That Are Rich In Protein

Every cell in your body needs protein to function well. It plays a vital role in the repairing and building of muscle, tissue, skin, nails, and hair. So, whether you have a plant-based diet, or choose animal-sourced products, here are list of 7 foods that are rich in protein to help your body meet its protein needs.

With protein composing such a crucial part of your diet, it’s no wonder protein-rich diets have become so popular. Protein is one of three essential macronutrients, alongside carbohydrates and fats.2 With your body constantly using up protein, it’s essential for you to get the right types.

Plant Based Protein-Rich Sources

There is a common misconception that a vegan diet is devoid of protein. But it's possible to meet your protein needs through a well-balanced plant-based diet. Admittedly, it can be slightly more difficult for those who follow a plant-based diet to get adequate complete protein sources.3 Different plant proteins provide some, but not all, essential amino acids.  Nevertheless, as long as you’re eating a mixture of different plant proteins, you will be able to get the essential amino acids your body needs.4 Some of the most common protein-rich plant-based sources include pulses (beans, lentils, chickpeas), tofu, and nuts/seeds.  

1. Pulses

This includes beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, and other pulses. Pulses are a low-fat source of protein. On average, they contain twice the amount of protein found in whole grains like wheat, oats, barley or rice.5 Furthermore, they contain high fibre that can help decrease cholesterol and help with regular bowel movement.  Compared to animal and many other plant-based sources of protein, pulses are a more affordable and sustainable protein-rich source.  

2. Tofu

 

This popular soy-based staple is a good source of complete proteins since it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s made by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a solid block, and then cooling it- similar to the traditional methods of making cheese.6 For about 100g of extra firm tofu, you would get about 10g of protein, or 20% of the recommended daily intake.7

3. Nuts and Seeds 

Nuts and seeds are another protein-rich food source. They contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and other vital minerals such as calcium. Some recommended nuts and seeds for a protein-rich diet include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, chia seeds, and flax seeds.8 Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds, provide about 6g of protein for every 28g. For every three tablespoons of chia seeds, you get about 4.7g of protein.

Eating a variety of plant-based proteins can improve protein quality because of their complementary amino acid profiles.  If you combine two vegetable proteins (i.e., legumes and grains), you can get all nine amino acids. You don’t have to include the variation in one meal; this can be done throughout the day.

Animal Based Protein-Rich Sources

4. Poultry

If you eat meat, turkey and chicken breast are fantastic protein-rich items to include in your diet. These "white meats” are rich in protein but low in fat.9 A 100g serving of cooked chicken or turkey breast contains about 30g of protein.

5. Seafood

 

Most white-fleshed fish are super lean and are sources high in protein.10 This includes cod, haddock, pollock, halibut, and tilapia. For every 100g, you can get about 20-25g of protein.

Find out more about sustainable seafood consumption

6. Eggs 

If you are a vegetarian that includes eggs in your diet, you’ll be happy to know that it is a protein-rich food. Half of the protein in eggs comes from the whites. You can definitely include the yolk, but keep in mind that you can include more egg whites for less calories. One egg contains about 6g of protein.11

7. Lean Red Meat 

Although there may be a lot of scepticism around red meat’s place in sustainable agriculture, there is no denying that it is a protein-rich food source. For every 100g of lean red meat, there is about 23-28g of protein.12 Furthermore, it is a complete protein source in itself.

What you want to avoid are too many processed meats. Processed meats have been transformed through salting, curing, and chemical processing to enhance the flavour or colour. Lean meats like beef, lamb, or bison are an excellent food source for a protein-rich diet. 

Read how protein sources impact biodiversity

Achieving a balanced intake

There are so many protein sources, with many plant-based sources able to provide the same amount of protein as animal-based sources. By incorporating more plant-based sources to either supplement or substitute your usual animal proteins, you can do a world of good for your health and the environment. So, when you decide what type of protein-rich sources you should choose, as with most things, the key lies in moderation and variety.

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