Protein is the essential macronutrient par excellence, so that our body could live exclusively from this contribution; although obviously, it would not be the most efficient, besides that according to our degree of activity, physical performance could be impaired. However, the protein contains amino acids, which will ultimately be responsible for meeting the needs in terms of nutrition, as requirements for the proper functioning of our entire system. In this way, we will assess the 10 best sources of protein:
1- Whey protein
Whey protein is the most biologically active protein source: it gives us a high concentration of essential amino acids, especially branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s), which favors the establishment of a better hormonal environment for the work of synthesis of proteins and mitigate the degradation of muscle tissues, induced by physical stress.
Whey protein is low in calories, fat and sugar, which helps prevent weight gain, while at the same time helping to build muscle mass. Whey protein has a rapid assimilation by the body, so it becomes possibly the best source of protein to take after a workout.
Whey protein is composed of a number of individual components, or bioactive fractions, which include alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, lactoferrin and a series of immunoglobulins.
Individually, these fractions are known to help strengthen the immune system. In addition, whey protein contains an antioxidant called glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps alleviate the action of free radicals. Glutathione levels can be reduced by exercise and resistance training.
2- Soy protein
Soy protein is highly criticized in sports circles because it is asked that its isoflavones (a phytoestrogen) can alter hormonal balance and reduce testosterone levels.
However, there are studies that show that athletes who take two daily protein shakes, soy protein concentrate compounds, soy protein isolate or pure whey protein isolate, did
not show differences in testosterone or estrogen levels , and all proteins increased muscle mass by the same amount. Soy protein is as effective as whey in terms of its ability to promote the gain of lean muscle mass, therefore, we can say that we are facing a completely feasible protein source.
Soy protein is a complete vegetable protein, so it is an excellent choice for vegetarian people or even for people who do not tolerate whey protein well. Soy protein provides a respectable amount of potassium, zinc, iron, vitamin E, phosphorus, as well as B vitamins.
Arginine is well known for its role in the synthesis of anabolic hormones that stimulate muscle formation, while glutamine is considered essential during metabolic stress.
Whey protein is digested more quickly, while soy protein is digested more gradually. Together, they can provide a longer release of amino acids to major muscle groups. In
addition, soy protein has health benefits, as it helps lower cholesterol and recent studies also show that consuming soy protein can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including prostate cancer.
Isoflavones found in soy protein produce antioxidant effects, which accelerate recovery and reduce muscle pain and inflammation. The consumption of soy protein has a number of unique benefits for women’s health, including the relief of symptoms associated with menopause, the protection of bone health and the reduction of the risk of breast cancer.
Eggs are one of the most complete and versatile foods that exist. It has an important role in providing a healthy diet for everyone and especially for people looking to increase their muscle mass. We all know the importance of protein in the muscle building process, without the consumption of enough protein, specifically essential amino acids, the changes in muscle building would be slowed down or not so important, and in terms of physical recovery .
Eggs are an excellent source of protein, in addition to providing a cascade of micronutrients:
They contain approximately 6g of high quality protein, so high that it is used as the standard by which other foods are measured;
They contain the eight essential amino acids necessary for optimal muscle building and recovery;
They are also a rich source of vitamins, including A, E and K and a range of vitamins of group B such as B12 (energy), riboflavin and folic acid.
They also contain valuable minerals such as calcium, zinc and iron.
Although the egg yolk has fats, the total content of these is 4 to 4.5g of fats per unit, of which 1.5g are saturated fats and the rest unsaturated (predominantly monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial for organism). Although egg yolk has cholesterol, it does not greatly affect blood cholesterol in healthy people. Eggs are easily digested and absorbed and are very useful to ensure a balanced diet.
In the same way that happens with the proteins present in the meats and in the eggs, those of the fish are considered of high biological value because they contain all the essential amino acids that the organism needs in adequate quantity and proportion.
Fish have nutritional properties that make them essential foods in what is considered a balanced and heart-healthy diet. It is a very versatile and easily digestible food, and that allows multiple preparations according to personal tastes. In addition to being a source of excellent quality proteins, they have a healthier lipid profile than other foods also rich in protein, such as meats.
Fish, especially blue fish, such as sardines, mackerel, salmon or tuna are an important source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help control blood pressure, improve heart function and reduce the impact of other cardiovascular risk factors. It provides minerals and vitamins as important as vitamin A and D.
Regular consumption of fish is associated with a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease. In addition, the consumption of fish in women during pregnancy, or in the period of breastfeeding and in children during the first years of development is an excellent important source of fatty acids essential for the development of the central nervous system.
5- White meat
White meats, such as poultry, whether turkey or chicken, are excellent sources of very good quality proteins, similar to those provided by veal but with much less saturated fat and cholesterol. White meats also provide different nutrients to the body in the case of diets, so we must always choose those leaner parts such as breasts.
They are rich in vitamin A and B vitamins that are responsible for metabolizing food, protecting our nervous system and involved in the proper functioning of the entire body.
They are rich in minerals such as iron, which is involved in the action of red blood cells to transport oxygen to the cells and also provide us with phosphorus, which strengthens our bones, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, essential for maintaining a strong immune system.
6- Red meat
Like white meats, red meats are a great source of complete proteins, they are very rich in iron, manganese, iodine, zinc and selenium, as well as in vitamin A and B vitamins.
Red meat often has a bad reputation. In fact, because of its high fat content it is largely associated with high cholesterol and the guilt of many heart diseases. Logically, all this can happen if red meat is abused but if we add red meat in the right and necessary amount, it provides an excellent source of protein and nutrients in addition to its delicious flavor.
To maintain a balanced diet we should only cook low-fat red meat, grilled or baked, and consume an average of between 75 and 100 grams in adults and not more than twice a week, intercalating it of course with white meat , like that of birds.
A healthy diet is based on the diversity of food, since there is not a single product capable of providing all the nutrients that our body requires; Hence, the best position that can be taken in the presence of red meat is to find an intermediate point.
7- Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a unique dairy product, since it is low in carbohydrates and rich in protein. Like other types of dairy, cottage cheese is high in fat, but low-fat versions are available. Eating cottage cheese before bedtime is a popular practice among bodybuilders and strength training athletes and may have benefits for people looking to lose weight.
Cottage cheese contains casein, a source of protein that is also sold in isolation as a supplement, and that the body digests at a slower rate than other types of protein.
According to research published in the March 2011 issue of “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” casein is more satiating than other types of proteins, such as whey.
Due to the slow digestion and the high level of satiety, cottage cheese can prevent hunger during the night and maintain an anabolic state for long periods of time. Cotrage cheese has a mild flavor and is an alternative for those who do not tolerate strong flavors. In addition, its calcium and phosphorus content is quite considerable.
Yogurt is a food well known for its benefits on digestive health, its delicious flavor and for providing a large amount of calcium to our bones. Let’s not forget that yogurt comes from milk so it provides a perfect dose of animal protein (approximately 9 grams per unit), in addition to several other nutrients found in dairy foods, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin B-2, B -12, and magnesium.
These strains of bacteria improve the conditions of the intestine, help digestion and improve the digestibility of lactose among other benefits. Many people who are lactose intolerant and cannot drink milk are able to eat yogurt thanks to the work of bacterial cultures.Yogurt plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Like soy, quinoa is considered a complete vegetable protein, easy to digest and that contains all the essential amino acids. This makes quinoa an especially beneficial food for those who do not eat animal products.
To be a grain, quinoa also has a relatively high amount of protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8g of protein, while the same amount of barley contains only 3.5g of protein and brown rice contains only 5g of protein.
In addition, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in manganese, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, so it is useful for vegetarians and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is also gluten free so it is suitable for people with celiac disease or other people who follow a gluten-free diet.
10- Legumes + Cereals
Although many legumes, cereals and nuts have a high protein content, they are incomplete (that is, they do not contain all the essential amino acids we need). However, there are some ways to balance the amino acid profile by combining certain plant foods.
It has been frequently noted that the combination of two incomplete sources of vegetable protein, such as rice and lentils, offer the full range of essential amino acids. These sources of vegetable proteins are very healthy, are typically low in fat, high in fiber, contain no cholesterol and are rich in iron, folic acid, potassium, magnesium and phytochemicals.
These combinations of vegetable proteins are essential for all people who follow vegetarian diets. In this way they can meet your daily protein needs. They are also highly recommended for all people because they allow you to obtain quality proteins with a lower supply of saturated fat and cholesterol, substances typical of animal foods.
It is also a very versatile food and there are many ways to add it to the diet since it can be eaten alone, in desserts, salads, etc.