Protein exists in every cell of our body, needless to say that its role is HUMONGOUS! You can read all about that in my previous post on protein: the 411 here. Nevertheless, we need to ensure we are not only feeding ourselves adequate amounts of protein but the best quality and the most bioavailable sources of it.
In terms of animal protein, we mostly know what they are – poultry, meat, fish, eggs and dairy. However, it is always best to try and nourish our bodies with the best food possible, so try and opt for oily fish and lean cuts of meat, greek or non flavoured yoghurt and full fat dairy products. I have put together the following infographic rating the 10 best sources of animal protein. This should be used as a comparative guide between sources. Some people may consume all of these foods, some may consume few. Remember health is individualised, no two bodies are the same. So moving on…
Moreover, many of us are opting to follow more of a plant-based lifestyle these days, with a focus towards nourishing ourselves with mostly ‘plant-based’ foods. The foundation of this lifestyle includes wholefood – fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts/seeds and legumes, healthy fats and other foods that come from a plant. Being plant-based does not mean you are strictly vegan or raw or vegetarian etc… rather these labels become more of a guide to which you base your diet around.
Personally, I am not a fan of labeling a diet as it creates something way too strict to follow. Rather, I feel that if we take elements from each of the labeled diets we can form our own individualized eating style, something that works best for us.
In saying that though, when following a plant-based diet it is important to ensure we are meeting our protein targets. This is easy to maintain if planned correctly and executed according to this plan. My best tip is to make yourself aware of what the vegetarian sources of protein are and aim to include at least 1 in every meal. So lets get into the nitty gritty…
There are 3 types of plant-based sources of protein.
- Protein + Carbohydrate i.e. Carby proteins.
- Protein + Fat i.e. Fatty proteins.
- Protein + Protein i.e. the real deal.
|Carby Proteins||Fatty Proteins||Protein Proteins|
Gluten free pasta
|Nuts e.g. almonds, walnuts, brazil, cashews, pecans.
Seeds e.g. sunflower, chia, hemp, pumpkin, flax.
Also to note, fruit and vegetables do contain trace amounts of protein but should not be relied on as a primary source of protein.
I have also put together another infographic rating the 10 best sources of plant based protein. You can print these, stick it to the fridge and/or keep it with you when you’re doing your shopping or planning your meals for the week. Remember that many of the plant based proteins need to be combined in order to provide all the essential amino acids. If you’ve forgotten this concept, have a look back at my previous post on mutual supplementation which tells you just how to do this. If you are following a plant based diet or are generally interested in how to increase your protein consumption, both infographics will be useful in helping you calculate how much you are getting.
….well how much protein do I need I hear you ask…?
There is no straight answer for this question. No two bodies are the same; therefore each individual’s protein requirements vary. This can be due to age, gender, activity, illness and so much more. However, 0.8g per kg of bodyweight is the general recommendation. So for example a 60kg female needs approximately 48g protein per day (60kg x 0.8g protein = 48g protein). If this females diet was based on the general recommendation of 2000 calories each day, then protein would make up approximately 10%* of her daily calories, which is at the low end of the recommend range (10-35%). Do remember that this example is based off very generalised guidelines and therefore should be interpreted with caution. If you’re unsure about whether you’re reaching your protein targets or are looking to cut out a certain food group for medical reasons, make sure you seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner (like myself) so that we can figure out your ideal intake suited to your individualised health goals.
*Calculation based on 4 calories per each gram of protein.
Well I think we have covered protein in depth now. Any questions, please ask and I will answer.
Take care lovelies and thanks for your ongoing support X