High Protein Foods
Thank you for visiting our site all about high protein foods. Our aim is to provide you with the basic information about what exactly high protein foods are as well as a list of protein rich foods that you can recognise and easily implement into your diet.
Proteins are a very important part of the development of our human cells. The intake of protein is responsible for providing energy as well as aiding the growth and repair of cells in the body. This is where protein rich foods are important.
Protein can't be stored in our bodies nor can our bodies generate them so it is important that our daily food consumption contains a sufficient amount. If it doesn't then knowing what protein rich foods are is a great way to start putting that right. As we will go on to explain there are a huge range of foods high in protein that constitute our every day diets already, however it does not hurt to learn a bit more about them in order to ensure you are eating as much of them as necessary.
Most commonly found in the cells of both plants and animals, proteins can come in a variety of amounts and qualities.
So what is Protein?
Proteins or as they are otherwise known polypeptides are an arrangement of amino acids made up to be an organic compound. The amino acids make a linear formation which are folded in order to make a globular form. Protein in different foods are made up of different amino acids, not all are important but to get the essentials that we need we have to mix and match out foods.
There are 8 amino acids that are an essential part of our diet, we have listed them below along with a brief description of what they are important for.
Isoleucine (Ile)This is needed for the production of muscles and to help muscles recover following exertion. It is also involved in the formation of hemoglobin, blood sugar levels, blood clot formation and also the provision of energy.
Leucine (Leu)Contributes towards the production of growth hormones and prevents the wasting of muscles. It is used as treatment for many conditions such as Parkinson's disease.
Lysine (Lys)Lysine is responsible for a variety of things such as the production of hormones, and antibodies. It also absorbs calcium, develops bones, repairs tissue and maintains the nitrogen levels in our bodies.
Methionine (Met)Methionine acts as an antioxidant, removes metal from our bodies and emulsifies fat. It also aids digestion and helps with arterial plaque prevention.
Phenylalanine (Phe)This contributes to the support of learning and memory strength, mood elevation and brain processes. Also tyrosine synthesis and neurochemicals dopanine and norepinephrine.
Threonine (Thr)Threonine monitors bodily proteins for maintaining or recycling processes.
Tryptophan (Trp)Assists in pain management and allows the body to implement sleep and mood patterns. It also helps serotonin and niacin production.
Valine (Val)Aids muscle production, recovery, energy, endurance, balances nitrogen levels and is also used in treatment of alcohol related brain damage.
Histidine (His)Known as the 'growth amino' essential for young children. Lack of histidine is associated with impaired speech and growth. Abundant in spirulina, seaweed, sesame, soy, rice and legumes.
To see which foods high in protein hold these essential amino acids please see our high protein diet page.
Alongside carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and lipids, proteins are a basic nutrient. The body breaks these down in order to provide for energy should fats and carbohydrates not provide sufficient levels on their own. Our bodies do not specifically use proteins, instead following ingestion of the protein bearing foods, enzymes within the digestive system proceed to break the protein down into smaller peptide chains in order to then separate the amino acids. What is broken down goes into the bloodstream and eventually into cells which use the amino acids to make proteins from them.
Not all of the protein that we eat contains all the amino acids required to build new proteins. The protein that does is called complete protein. Protein deriving from animals tend to be complete. Alternative sources of protein lack one or more of the required amino acids which are the amino acids that the body can't make from nothing or create by modifying another amino acid. Referred to as incomplete proteins, these usually come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.
Vegetarians must take note of this - In order to get all the amino acids needed to make new protein and subsequently keep the body's systems in good shape, those who don't eat protein rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products should eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day.
Searching for high protein foods may have come as a result of your doctor telling you to include more high protein foods into your diet, a new dietary plan that has suggested eating more high protein foods or just by people that have decided to take a vested interest in what they eat.
High protein foods by type
- Fish - Haddock, Cod, Mackerel, Squid, Octopus
- Red Meat - Beef, Pork, Lamb
- Poultry (White Meat) - Chicken, Turkey
- Shellfish - Shrimp, Prawn, Scallop, Lobster, Crab, Whelk, Mussels, Oysters, Cockles
- Pulses - Peas, Beans and Lentils
- Products containing Soya
All of the above are classed as high protein foods however as previously mentioned some are more protein rich foods than others. For a list of high protein foods which shows the actual foods with the most protein in please see click here.
Follow this link to find out which foods high in protein are suitable for a vegan high protein diet
It is all very well reading a list of high protein foods that can be found just about anywhere, the important thing is to choose the right high protein foods and incorporate them into a balanced diet. For instance red meat is the best of the protein rich foods, think red meat and steak springs to mind. However, with steak comes saturated fats so eating too much steak will provide a load of protein but won't actually be any good for you at all. When you are shopping for your high protein foods it is always wise to assess the fat content as well as the protein value.
Vegetable sources of protein such as nuts, beans and whole grains are good choices as they also offer a healthy content of vitamins, minerals and fibre. As far as meat goes your choices are better made with poultry and fish. Red meat is a high protein food but should be eaten in moderation, for example lean cuts in modest amounts and do not consume this regularly. It is also wise to avoid processed meat such as bacon and hot dogs where possible. There are alternatives to red meat such as Tofu so looking into these as soon as possible to wean your way off it is a positive start, just remember as with anything moderation is key.
Make sure that you balance your carbohydrate and protein rich foods in takes. Where you can, reduce the amount of processed carbohydrates as these are not good for you either.
- White Bread
- White Rice
The more variety that your diet is made up from the more protein that you are likely to consume, even if unintentionally. Making a conscious effort to eat less saturated fat is a great idea. This means eating more beans, fish and poultry. If you are into your dairy products then stick to whole-milk products.
We hope that this information on foods high in protein has been of use to you. We plan to add further lists of high protein foods to cover a more in depth diet in the near future. But for now make sure you are using your protein rich foods in moderation.
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