There are three macronutrients that are needed by the human body. They’re called macronutrients because one requires a large amount of these substances in order to perform at its best. One of the three core macronutrients is protein.
Protein is essential because it builds muscle mass and it helps in the repair of damaged tissue. Did you know that protein pretty much makes up every cell in your body? Yep, it is that important. It is needed for your hair, nails, bones, skin, blood, tissue, and cartilage. It is important for your entire body so that your normal bodily functions are regulated and maintained. This is why protein is considered as one of life’s building blocks. Having a protein-rich diet allows you to build lean muscle, curb your hunger, maintain your healthy weight, and speed up your body's recovery after exercising.
So how do we get more protein? The best way is from the food we eat.
It is recommended by the UDSA that 10% to 35% of the calories from our diet should come from protein. Your body would need around 56 grams although this could change depending on your weight, workout regimen, gender, and lifestyle. Meat, poultry, fish and dairy are perhaps the most common sources, but do you know that you don't have to eat meat to get your recommended daily protein intake? All you need to know are the different foods that can supply you with your daily need.
Here are 6 foods that are surprisingly high in protein.
Guava is a tropical fruit that originated in Central America. For just a cup of this fruit you get 4 grams of protein. This fruit is also a good source of Vitamin A which promotes general eye health. It contains a powerful antioxidant called lycopene that is known to reduce the risk of cancer and it is high in Vitamin C which helps the body in building resistance against diseases.
- Green Peas
Your parents were not kidding when they used to tell you that peas are healthy when you were younger. A cup of peas has in fact more protein content than a cup of spinach. Aside from getting 8 grams of protein from a cup, the presence of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in this vegetable could lower your risk of developing inflammatory diseases like arthritis and diabetes. Green peas are also a reliable source of omega 3-fatty acids.
- Baked Potato
You probably thought of potatoes when you needed to pack on carbohydrates. One thing that you should know is that this starchy vegetable is also packed with protein. You can get 8 grams of protein from a large baked russet potato or around 6-7 grams of protein from other types of potato with similar size.
Potatoes are a super healthy food. It is great for kids and adults and are easy to digest. They are also good for you skin because they contain Vitamins B & C and other minerals that promote skin health and essential fatty acids that promotes brain health.
An ounce or 49 kernels of Pistachio nuts can give you around 6 grams of protein. Aside from the protein content, pistachios are known to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help in reducing your risk of having heart disease. It also contains good fats that are essential in reducing your cholesterol levels.
We've all heard about the amazing benefits of quinoa and the amount of protein that you can get from this food is just one of them. A cup of cooked quinoa can give you more than 8 grams of protein, which is the same amount that you can get from drinking a cup of milk. You can even boost its protein content by adding meat, seafood, or vegetables like peas.
This is probably not the food that you would think of when it comes to protein content. You will be surprised that this healthy breakfast food is packed with protein. Half a cup of dry whole oats will give you around 6.75 grams of protein, quick oats contain around 5.5 grams and instant oats that you find at the grocery store can provide you with 4.75 grams. Oats are also rich in fiber which plays an important role in reducing the insulin and blood sugar levels. What’s even better is you can pack your oats with more nutrients by adding superfoods like blueberries or strawberries.
Over to you. Have you managed to find protein in unusual food sources? Do you find that you can get enough protein from food? Or do you need to use an additional protein powder? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments blow.
By: Shannon Kingsley
Shannon loves all things outdoors such as hiking, camping, and bike riding. After her second child, Shannon was left with large stretch marks and is now passionate about helping others prevent and help reduce their own stretch marks as well as reduce other skin spots & blemishes. She can be found at SkinHealthBody.com.