Protein is one of the three macronutrients, alongside carbohydrates and fats. It’s an essential nutrient, meaning we need to consume enough protein in our diet in order to stay healthy.
Without adequate protein, you are at an increased risk of a range of health conditions. Protein deficiency increases the risk of illness and infection, muscle wastage, swelling, and hormonal imbalance.
Despite the incredible importance of protein, many people do not consume enough of it. Even if you are not exercising regularly, you need to consume protein in your diet every day. If you are working out for your health, especially if you are weightlifting, you will need even more protein than the average sedentary person.
However, consuming enough protein is easier than you might first think. We all know that meat contains plenty of protein, whether you are comparing wet-aged versus dry-aged meat, or red versus white meat.
But contrary to popular belief, it’s not just meat products that contain high amounts of quality protein. There are plenty of great plant-based sauces as well.
Here are some non-obvious top-quality sources of protein to add to your diet to ensure you are consuming enough of this essential macronutrient.
Fish is an incredible source of high-quality protein. Depending on the type of fish, you can get up to 24 grams of protein per 100-gram serving.
Not only is fish high in protein but it is also packed full of beneficial nutrients. In particular, fish is known to be high in healthy unsaturated fatty acids, such as omega-3s and omega-6s.
Unsaturated fatty acids have cardioprotective effects, meaning they help to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. They lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
If you follow a plant-based diet, tofu is one of the best sources of protein that you will find. It contains around 9 grams of protein per 100 grams of the product.
Tofu is one of the very few plant-based food items that is a complete protein. This means that it contains all of the nine essential amino acids that your body cannot make by itself.
Tofu contains a wide range of essential micronutrients that contribute to a reduced risk of disease. In particular, studies show that tofu can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, and reduce hot flushes during menopause
Depending on the type of beans that you eat, you can get up to 10 g of protein per 100 gram serving of cooked beans. They are another incredible saucer plant-based protein that is ideal for those of you who do not eat meat or dairy.
The great thing about beans is their versatility. There is a wide variety of different beans, all of which have their own tastes and textures. Beans contain healthy plant-based fiber that aids digestion and keeps your gut microbes happy and well-balanced.