Protein is essential for the human body, particularly when it comes to building, repairing, or replacing cells and organs. As we get older, we need even more protein to stay healthy and ensure that our bodies function properly.
And yet, studies show that adults do not eat enough protein and consequently suffer poor health. Luckily, protein is easy to find in a wide variety of sources.
There are two types of proteins—complete and incomplete. Complete proteins typically come from animal sources, while incomplete proteins usually come from plants. Incomplete proteins usually need to be paired with another incomplete protein.
Here are six ways to incorporate more protein in your diet:
Meat: Meat is an easy and obvious source or protein. However, some meats like beef and pork are higher in fat and sodium, which may be a consideration for those who wish to lose weight or maintain good cardiovascular health. Leaner meats include poultry and fish.
Beans and lentils: Along with being high in protein, beans and lentils are nutrient-dense foods, are higher in fiber, and contain antioxidants. A diet rich in beans and lentils is good for the heart and helps those on a diet to control their appetites. Those who feel that eating healthy is always costly should be pleased to note that beans and lentils are extremely economical.
Eggs: Eggs are sometimes portrayed as villains in the food world due to their high cholesterol content. Still, eggs are loaded with vitamins and can be a simple source of protein in a salad or a quick meal. The white of the eggs has more than half of the total protein, while the yolk contains most of the cholesterol. However, studies have shown that eating eggs has a minimal effect on the body’s cholesterol levels, so eggs are fine to eat periodically.
Dairy products: Dairy products, derived from milk, contain a good amount of protein. Dairy products are also high in calcium—ideal for women who worry about osteoporosis. Yogurt and cottage cheese are popular protein options because they can be mixed with fruit or a sweet taste. However, yogurts often contain high amounts of sugar, based on the brand. Some yogurts also have probiotics which help keep the digestive system healthy. Greek yogurt contains more protein that other yogurt varieties.
Quinoa: Quinoa is a rare plant that serves as a complete protein. It’s also a whole-grain food and does not contain gluten. That’s not even mentioning the high nutrient and vitamin content quinoa lovers appreciate.
Nuts: The many varieties of nuts in the world offer a number of different benefits. As a general rule, nuts are very high in protein and also help lower cholesterol since they are high in fiber. A handful of nuts can be a great snack and a quick way to get more protein in your diet. Nuts also contain unsaturated fats, which are good for the heart and help you feel full.