Protein is one of the 3 main Macronutrients, alongside Fat and Carbohydrates. These are the nutrients the body needs in larger quantities in order to function on a daily basis and aid the body systems to operate to an optimum level.
Protein is utilised by the body in a number of ways, it aids in the recovery of the muscles and helps them to recover after a workout, it also helps repair damaged body tissue. This can be anything from a bruise or scrape to a muscle tear. Ample amounts of protein in the diet are therefore key in a balanced diet, it is therefore important for an individual to know which sources to consume in order to meet an individual required daily intake
It is important to be aware that Protein is found in a large variety of foods, in varying amounts. Some of the best natural sources of Protein are shown below.
Best sources of natural Protein
Chicken – as with all meats, chicken comes in a variety of different cuts, chicken breast is most popular among health-conscious people, this is due to being high in protein and lower in calories than chicken thighs or legs. A typical skinless chicken breast will contain approximately 54g of Protein. Fat content of chicken breast will change depending on whether it is fried, grilled or boiled. When consuming chicken on a regular basis it is important to be mindful of its fat content and consider the calorie breakdown on packaging as overconsumption may lead to weight gain and other health implications.
Eggs – Eggs contain a wide range of nutrients and are among some of the healthiest foods a person can eat. An egg contains 13g of Protein. They contain vitamins and minerals essential for bodily functions. Almost all nutrients in an egg are contained in the yolk while the egg white contains only protein. An individual consuming eggs on a daily basis should be mindful of the high-fat content in an egg yolk. It is therefore not uncommon among athletes or health-conscious individuals to eat only the egg white and remove the yolk before consumption, this is in order to take advantage of the high protein of eggs while not eating over the recommended daily amount of fat, which will have health implications.
Milk – Not only is Milk high in Protein but contains all the amino acids needed by the body in order to function and build muscle tissue. Studies indicate that if consumed after exercise, it greatly enhances muscle growth and repair. This would also make it a lower cost, easily accessible alternative to other post-workout foods. 250ml of Milk (1 cup) contains 8g of Protein, a person conscious of fat consumption can opt for skimmed or semi-skimmed milk while still getting a healthy Protein source.
Beef – Is a popular source of Protein, a 100g serving of Beef will contain approximately 25g of Protein. Beef is also a good source of iron and zinc. Beef, along with other red meat, also tends to be high in fat, therefore cuts such as Sirloin are more suited to a health-conscious individual. As with all foods, it is important to eat Beef in moderation, studies indicate that the overconsumption of red meat has strong links to high cholesterol and bowel cancer. A person eating over 90g of Protein in the UK is deemed to be of high consumption and therefore would be recommended to reduce this intake otherwise would likely develop a health condition.
Natural sources of Protein in the diet.
The recommended intake of protein per day for an adult is 0.8g per kilogram of bodyweight. A person looking to increase muscle mass or assist the body in recovery from an injury may increase this amount, this can be done through eating natural protein sources. It is important to not just focus on the Protein content of foods and also consider other vitamins and minerals contained in the food when looking to eat a balanced diet.