Best Underrated Sources of Protein
Tired of eating meat and fish to get protein? Want to add more variety of sources of protein to your diet? From quinoa and amaranth, to hemp hearts and flax seeds, there are plenty alternative options available for both omnivorous diets and vegetarian diets.
A diet that is high in protein is essential for your body to build muscle and strength. Protein is considered a macronutrient and is one of the three main things your body needs to function (alongside fat and carbohydrates). Unfortunately, the body doesn’t store protein like it does fat, meaning that you need to keep replenishing your protein so your muscles can work. Beyond building and repairing muscles, protein also helps with speeding up metabolism as your muscle mass increases. There is also new evidence to show that protein helps with calcium absorption and strengthens bones.
If you’re not a fan of meat and dairy, it’s important to stay on the lookout for different sources of protein. This is especially true if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. Just because you don’t consume the traditional sources of protein, doesn’t mean there aren’t great options out there.
Let’s take a quick look at the best-underrated sources of protein:
Quark is a low-fat curd, cheese, very similar to cottage cheese. This cheese can be used in a variety of recipes and has a texture similar to that of Greek Yogurt of Cottage Cheese. But the benefits of Quark far outweigh the benefits of Greek Yogurt.
One serving of Quark provides over 14.1 grams of protein, 165 calories and just 3.5 grams of sugar. In comparison, there is 7 more grams of protein in Quark than in Greek Yogurt. It also has VitaminK2, which helps the body absorb calcium which is important at any age.
Quark is simple to find at specialty grocers or at small retail grocers. If you’re struggling to find Quark in stores, you can even make quark at home using buttermilk and non-fat or lactose-free milk. This is a little bit more challenging to do when it comes to discovering it’s nutritional value, but it is worth a try!
Not all beans are created equal. If you want to incorporate beans into your diet, try going for black beans as your main choice.
With 15 grams of protein per cup, black beans are an excellent choice as a high protein food for all types of diets. One serving also delivers 64 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of folate, 38 percent of the RDA of manganese, and 40 percent of the RDA of copper. These are minerals which help with bone structure and the overall healing of the body.
According to science, delicious black beans fight inflammation and lower bad cholesterol by up to 15 percent. Rich in antioxidants, they protect against cancer and DNA damage. Additionally, the fiber in black beans promotes satiety and improves digestion.
Amaranth Seeds are one of the ancient grains from Asia and Mesoamerica that has remained in diets. The grain, which is sold in stores, is cooks easily and can be used as the base of lunch and dinners.
One cup of the Amaranth grain provides 9 grams of protein and 105 percent of the daily recommended intake of manganese. It’s also a healthy source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and iron. On top of that, it’s gluten-free, so those with celiac disease can safely consume it!
Studies have found that Amaranth also relieves joint pain due to its anti-inflammatory properties. When consumed regularly, it improves bone health, lowers cholesterol levels, and boosts cardiovascular function.
This one is for the Seafood fans out there! Lobster is popular in many east coast diets and can become part of yours regardless of where you live. Lobsters are one of the seas great sources of protein, vitamins and minerals, all when consumed in moderation and when cooked in a healthy way (ahem, don’t dip it in oodles of warm butter!)
There are over 28 grams of protein in one cup of cooked lobster, which equates to 65 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake. This superfood has just 129 calories per serving, offering both flavor and nutrition. It’s also rich in Vitamin B, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Another added perk is that there are no carbohydrates in Lobster!
Due to its high selenium content (the antioxidant enzymes that prevent cell damage), lobster may help prevent thyroid disease. It also contains Omega-3 essential fats, which promote brain health and memory. Iron and copper, two of the key nutrients in lobster, also protect against anemia and circulatory disorders.
Last but not least, peanut butter is one of those foods that you may not have realized actually has a substantial amount of protein. Although it is better to consume natural peanut butter (without the added sugars), regular peanut butter won’t hurt your diet.
In just 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, you’ll get 8 grams of protein, which is equivalent to 16 percent of your daily protein intake. Peanut butter is also rich in Vitamin B6 and Magnesium, which helps regulate hormones and nerve functions.
If you’re a fan of peanut butter there are a few Isagenix products that make use of it in tasty ways. The Isalean Bars come in a variety of flavors, with dairy-free Chocolate Peanut Butter being just one of them. If you want to manage your weight, Isalean Bars are the perfect meal replacements to add to your diet. They range between 18 and 19 grams of protein and can satisfy even the most insistent of cravings.
Protein Isn’t the Only Thing You Need!
It’s important to keep a varied diet to ensure that you don’t have nutrient deficiencies. Just because you are consuming more protein, doesn’t mean you should stop eating fruits, vegetables, and other sources of fat and carbohydrates. Too much protein intake can result in risky, adverse effects if it is not balanced by a healthy diet. Some of these effects include calcium excretion, putting your metabolism into a state of Ketosis, and the need to eat higher in fat foods, which can increase the risk of high cholesterol levels.
Have you ever tried any of the protein sources in this post? Are there different protein sources you enjoy putting into your diet that hasn’t been mentioned? Don’t forget, you can always mix these foods into your favorite recipes for a delicious and nutritious meal.
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