Protein is a nutrient that your body needs for many functions. It plays a role in muscle function and health, it gives your body energy and it promotes healthy hair, nails and skin.
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Protein is also important for hormone functions, healthy blood, to build tissues and aid in the production of healthy red blood cells. Though the average American diet isn’t usually deficient in protein, many people should b getting more than they are. By adding some delicious foods to your meal plan, you can easily reach the daily intake recommendations without having to sacrifice.
Here are your best choices:
Choose Any Kind Of Bean
Beans are one of the top sources of protein, in addition to containing fiber, iron and B vitamins. Any kind of bean you choose is a great choice, including pinto, kidney, black and garbanzo beans. Beans make a healthy side dish, but you can also serve them in soups and salads. Beans are a healthy meat alternative and can be used to make burgers as well as burritos and tacos. Rinse canned beans to reduce their sodium content.
Poultry, Beef, Pork And Lamb
Any kind of meat is going to give you a good dose of protein, though you should stick to lean sources to control your calorie and saturated fat intake. That includes chicken or turkey breasts, lean pork chops, lamb chops or sirloin steaks.
It’s also best to grill or broil these meats rather than frying them. This preserves the nutrient content and allows you to benefit from the protein without going overboard on fat and calories. Meats like these are also great sources of magnesium, zinc B vitamins and iron.
Fish And Shellfish
The American Heart Association encourages people to consume at least two servings of fish each week. That’s because fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats that your brain and heart need for proper function.
The good news is that fish and shellfish are also good sources of protein so you can meet two needs at one time. Your best bets are fatty fish, such as trout, salmon, mackerel and herring, but shrimp, crab, lobster, oysters, mahi mahi, tilapia and cod are other great options.
One egg counts as a serving of protein, which makes it easy to get to your quota for the day. Eggs may have gotten a bad rap in the past, but new research says that the benefits far outweigh the potential risks.
Eggs are packed with healthy protein and are the ideal way to start the day. The egg will give you energy that will last until lunchtime and eggs also contain choline and vitamin D. The American Heart Association says that most healthy adults can eat one egg everyday without concern. Have a hard-boiled egg with toast, make an omelet or have a frittata for dinner.
Nuts And Seeds
You’ve probably heard the hype about what a great snack nuts and seeds are. This is true for many reasons. Nuts and seeds are full of protein, helping you reach your intake goals. They also contain healthy fats and fiber, making them a standout snack food anytime of the day. You can also incorporate nuts and seeds into meals by tossing them into salads or eating them in oatmeal for breakfast.
Low-Fat Dairy Foods
Many people shy away from dairy foods, but the fact is that they are a really easy way to boost protein intake. A glass of milk with a meal can get you about 1/5 of the way there. Low-fat cheese, yogurt and ice cream are also good choices. In addition to their protein content, dairy foods also contain vitamin D, healthy fats and calcium.
Protein is something that no one should be skimping on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adult females get 46 grams of protein each day, while adult males need 56 grams on a daily basis. By making some simple changes to your eating habits, you should have no trouble getting there. If you are concerned about your intake, speak to your doctor about making a plan to fix the problem.