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High Protein Food In The Healthy Eating Pyramid

Why you should eat food high in protein at each meal

white-meat The inclusion of high protein food at each meal has an important benefit in that it slows the movement of food from the stomach to the intestine, making you feel full for longer. As a result you will eat less. Protein is an essential nutrient and is important as it provides the amino acids or building blocks for healthy growth and function of the body. The constant process of repair and renewal of body tissues requires protein, which must be eaten daily, as the body cannot store it. While animal and dairy products contain complete proteins with all the essential amino acids, these are not always healthy and it is preferable that your protein comes from a variety of foods.

Sources of Protein

While animal products are a source of high protein food, such as red meat and dairy products, and contain all of the amino acids required by the body, the downside is that these sources are high in saturated fat, which can lead to weight gain and disease if consumed in excess. Vegetable sources of high protein food such as nuts, beans, whole grains and soy are a better choice as they contain less fat, and provide fibre and vitamins. Additionally, vegetables have lower concentrations of hormones and pesticides than meat. You can obtain the proteins you need by including a wide variety of vegetables in your diet. Better choices of animal protein are fish and lean white meat from poultry. Salmon is an ideal source of protein, as it is also high in Omega 3 fats which actively promotes wellbeing.

List of High Protein Food

  • Steak - 20 grams of protein in 1 serving of 100g
  • Chicken Breast - 30 grams protein in half a chicken breast of about 120g size
  • Fish (Salmon) - 21 grams protien in 1 serving of 100g
  • Egg - 6 grams of protein in 1 large egg
  • Milk - 8 grams of protein in 1 cup
  • Yoghurt - 13 grams of protein in 1 carton of 200g
  • Cheese - 8 grams of protein in 1 slice of 30g
  • Beans - 5 grams of protein in 1 cup of beans
  • Lentils - 18 grams of protein in 1 cup of lentils
  • Nuts - 24 grams of protein in 1 cup of mixed nuts
  • Seeds - 4 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds.

Tips for including protein in your diet

  • Eat a variety of vegetables, nuts, lentils and whole grains
  • Have 2 fish meals a week, especially salmon
  • Substitute lean white meat for red and fatty meats. Avoid processed meats as they can increase the risk of cancer
  • Substitute low fat dairy products in place of whole milk products
  • Cut back on refined carbohydrates and increase protein intake to help feel fuller, and fight heart disease
  • Replace egg yolks with egg whites when you can

Proportion of calories that should come from Protein

There is no clear answer to the question of how much protein should be consumed on a daily basis, and research in this area is still ongoing. However, the official recommendation for the minimum amount of protein needed by an adult is 0.8g for every kg of body weight. However, calories in a healthy diet should be balanced between healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates in the percentages shown. 40% of your daily calories should come from protein. Eating a variety of high protein food, primarily from non-animal sources is the best way to obtain this.

A note on Dairy Products

One of the primary benefits of dairy products such as milk, cheese, cream, butter and yoghurt is that they are a good source of calcium, a mineral needed for healthy bones, teeth, blood clotting and nerve function. The downside is the high level of saturated fat that whole milk products contain. To keep this to a minimum, always go for low fat versions of dairy products. Osteoporosis (weak bones) is a common ailment among post menopausal women, and is a result of bone loss that occurs with age. This process can be slowed down by strengthening the bones during the first 30 years of life through weight bearing exercise, getting enough vitamin D and calcium.

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