Whether you’re looking to gain muscle or lose weight, increasing your intake of healthy protein foods can help you on your path. Lean beef, pumpkin seeds and cottage cheese are all great sources of protein.
A high-protein diet has the power to transform your body in spectacular ways.
This diet boosts the amount of healthy protein foods you consume. In so doing, it provides the body with the resources needed to build muscle and burn fat. If you like the idea of having a body that looks ripped and jacked, this is the diet for you.
Curious about which high-protein foods are worth adding to your eating plan? In this article, we’ll take a quick look at some of the benefits of a high-protein diet. Next, we’ll introduce you to five nourishing foods that are excellent sources of protein.
Health benefits of a high-protein diet
One benefit of protein is that it helps the body build and maintain muscle.
When you lose weight, you also run the risk of losing muscle. If muscle loss occurs, your metabolic rate may decrease, and this could cause you to burn fewer calories than you normally would. Ultimately, this could slow your weight-loss journey.
If you’re seeking to lose weight, high-protein foods can help you maintain a defined, muscular physique all throughout the process. And if you’re looking to bulk up, a diet that’s high in protein will help ensure that you’re adding muscle and not fat.
Another way in which a high-protein diet can favorably impact your health involves its effect on your hormones. Increasing your protein intake can affect your hormones in ways that boost satiety and support weight loss.
GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin are hormones that reduce your appetite. Research shows that increasing the protein content of your diet encourages the body to ramp up the production of these appetite-suppressing hormones. This can encourage you to reduce your calorie intake, and this will support weight loss.
Now that we know about some of the benefits of a high-protein diet, let’s take a look at a few healthy foods that are high in protein.
Healthy protein food #1: Lean beef
A single 4-ounce serving of lean ground beef contains 23 grams of protein.
To determine whether the beef you’re considering qualifies as lean, check the label. The labels placed on beef are subject to government regulations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates whether a cut of beef can be labeled as lean. This decision is based on the amount of fat and cholesterol that the beef contains.
According to USDA regulations, a lean cut of beef is one that contains less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 100-gram (3.5 ounces) serving.
In addition to protein, beef is rich in nutrients such as iron and vitamin B12.
Healthy protein food #2: Eggs
A large egg contains 12 grams of protein.
The entire egg is a great source of protein, but special credit has to be given to the egg whites. This part of the egg is almost completely made of protein. It contains 60 percent of the protein found in the entire egg. A one-cup serving of egg whites contains a whopping 20 grams of protein.
However, before you decide to ditch the yolk in favor of the egg whites, keep this mind: The vast majority of an egg’s vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are found in its yolk.
Healthy protein food #3: Cottage cheese
A one-cup serving of low-fat cottage cheese contains 24 grams of protein.
Cottage cheese is made using the curds of pasteurized cow’s milk. It’s packed with a host of healthy nutrients, including, selenium, vitamin B12, phosphorus, calcium and riboflavin. Studies show that the calcium present in dairy products such as cottage cheese may prevent insulin resistance.
Healthy protein food #3: Chicken breast
A skinless chicken breast contains about 50 grams of protein.
Many parts of the chicken are nutritious, but the breast is especially healthful because it tends to be low in fat. Chicken is a good source of vitamin B, vitamin D, iron, zinc and calcium.
Healthy protein food #4: Pumpkin seeds
A 1-ounce serving of raw pumpkin seeds contains 9 grams of protein.
This food also contains omega-3 fatty acids. These acids support heart health.
Healthy protein food #5: Peanut butter
A 32-gram serving of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein.
Peanut butter is high in fat overall. However, most of its fat content comes from healthy unsaturated fats such as oleic acid. You’ll also find oleic acid in olive oil, and it’s been shown to provide health benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity.
In addition, peanut butter is an excellent source of nutrients such as magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin E and folate.
Peanut butter is relatively high in calories. This can be helpful if you’re eating it as part of a bodybuilding program. However, if you’re hoping to lose weight, consume peanut butter in moderation to achieve optimum results.
If you’re buying commercially made peanut butter, avoid those that have harmful additives such as sugar.
To follow a high-protein diet, it’s essential to monitor your protein intake. With this eating plan, at least 20 percent of your calories should come from protein. You can use an online food diary to make sure you’re consuming the appropriate mix of macronutrients.
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