What are Proteins?
Before we look into what are the best protein foods, let’s first take a look at exactly what are proteins. Every cell in the body contains protein and protein is critical for those cells to grow. Equally important it that protein is needed to repair tissue damage which can be sustained during a heavy workout at the gym. Approximately 20% of your entire body weight is made up of proteins.
All proteins are made of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that make up a protein and depending on the combination of the 20 amino acids and they sequence they follow, the protein will carry out different functions in the body.
There are 2 types of amino acids, essential and non-essential. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body, however essential amino acids need to be provided to the body via food. As muscles are made of protein, you need to ensure that you are providing enough of the right protein foods for growing and strengthening muscles. So let’s take a look at some of the best foods to provide protein.
What are the Best Protein Foods
Chicken is widely considered one of the best protein foods. This is because it not only carries a high percentage of protein but less saturated fat, than say red meat. Chicken, unlike red meat can be eaten every day but always ensure to use skinless chicken as the skin will carry extra fat.
Fish is a great source of protein and has very little fat and no carbohydrates. It is also one of the best protein foods. The most popular fish to consume is Tuna as it is cheap, easy to prepare and also has good taste. The best fish for protein are probably sardines and salmon however they are high in mercury so it is suggested to eat only 1-2 times per week. Fish is in general very good for your overall health as well as muscle building.
Beef is a very good source of protein containing approx 25g of protein. Be careful not to confuse this with sausages and burgers which tend to have a lot of fat and salt which is not good for your high protein diet. Always try and find lean cuts of beef to ensure you are getting the right amino acids to build lean muscle.
Eggs are one of the top sources of protein and one of the best protein foods. You want to try and only use the egg whites as they contain all the good protein, whereas the yolks carry a lot of cholesterol. Egg whites don’t exactly taste great on their own but it is worth it to eat them without the yolks
Try and stick to cottage cheese vrs other types of cheese as they are probably high in fat. Look for cottage cheese made from skimmed milk for the full effect of protein intake.
If you are looking for something to snack on during the day in between meals then nuts are the best source of protein. Peanuts and almonds are probably the best but be careful of high salt when buying peanuts.
Saving the best for last! Whey protein is the best source of protein and considered the very best protein foods . The body uses it very fast and so it can be taken before, after or during a workout. Whey contains very high levels of protein and has the highest biological value (BV).