7 Foods That Are Protein-Rich Sources
Every cell in your body needs protein in order to function well. It plays a key 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 protein-rich food sources 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 key macronutrients, alongside of 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. There is, however, definitely protein sources in plants. Although, it can be slightly more difficult for those who follow a plant-based diet to receive 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.
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 fiber 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.
This popular soy-based staple is a good source of complete proteins since it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s made by curding fresh soya milk, pressing 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 source. They contain healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and other vital minerals such as calcium. Some recommended nuts and seeds to include in 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 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, you get about 4.7g of protein.
Eating a variety of plant-based protein can improve protein quality, because of their complementary amino acid profiles. This means if you combine two vegetable proteins (i.e., legumes and grains) you get all 9 amino acids. You don’t have to include the variation in one meal either, this can be done throughout the day so that you are getting a variety of protein into your diet.
Animal Based Protein-Rich Sources
If you eat meat, turkey and chicken breast are fantastic protein-rich items to include in your diet. Try to aim for the “white-meat” since it would be rich in protein but low in fat.9 A 100g serving of cooked chicken or turkey breast contains about 30g of protein.
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.
More specifically, egg whites. 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 come 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 skepticism 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 read meat, there is about 23-28g of protein.12 Furthermore, it is a complete protein source in itself.
What you want to avoid is too much processed meats. Processed meats have been transformed through salting, curing, and chemical processing to enhance the flavor or colour. Lean meats like beef, lamb, or bison are a great source for a protein-rich diet. When choosing red meat, opting for products boasting supply chain transparency is a good way to ensure you know the conditions and processes that your meat has been through.
Read how protein sources impact biodiversity
Achieving a balanced intake
There are so many sources of protein, 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 both your health and the environment. So, when you decide what type or protein-rich sources you should choose, as with most things, the key lies in moderation and variety.
Let us know in the comments below if you have any amazing recipes that incorporate these protein-rich foods! Feel free to share your thoughts below.