What are Protein Rich Foods?

Protein is one of the compounds that our bodies require on a daily basis. It is essential for the growth and repair of tissue, particularly muscles, which is why many people who exercise and try to increase their muscle mass utilize protein supplements.  However, it serves other functions as well, and is involved in the production and regulation of enzymes, hormones, red blood cells and antibodies.  The RDA recommends that average people consume between 0.8 and 1.0 gram of protein each day for every kilogram of body weight.  This equates to approximately 10-15% of our daily calories coming from protein.  Obviously, those who are involved in sports or other athletic activity require more protein – about 25-50% more – on a daily basis.


While protein supplements are helpful, they are just that – supplements.  Much of the protein your body needs can be obtained from your diet.  There are a wide variety of foods which are rich in protein.  The foods that are richest in protein are typically red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products such as eggs and milk.  For this reason, many people say that a vegetarian diet is necessarily lacking in protein, because these foods are eliminated.  In reality, there are many vegetarian and vegan foods which contain protein.


Seeds, nuts, and their by-products are good sources of protein.  Peanut butter and tofu are staples of a vegetarian diet that contains an adequate amount of protein.  Vegetables such as beans, lentils and soybeans are highest in protein, while other protein-rich veggies include artichokes, broccoli, sweet corn, peas, potatoes and spinach.  Most vegetables have a negligible amount of protein, but still act as a supplement, and are beneficial for other reasons as well.


Grains such as wheat, rice, barley, corn, rice, and oats are also rich in protein, but it is important to ensure they are whole grains, and not processed (such as in the form of white bread).  Cornmeal, oat bran and wheat flour are highest in protein content, while rice and whole-grain pasta are also great sources of protein.  Even some processed (not raw) foods, such as whole wheat bread or veggie burgers, can provide a great source of protein, and many vegetarian foods are full of protein-rich ingredients to ensure that people who don’t consume meat still get the proteins their bodies need.


~Submitted by InspireHappy Staff Writer



From Jeanne:

The Paleo Diet Lifestyle does not advocate any grain or corn products thus it can be quite challenging for a vegetarian to go Paleo.  If you must consume them, it is recommended to only buy organic corn or soy products because they are the 2 most genetically modified foods on the market. (Learn more about GMOs) Lastly, there has been a lively discussion on the “healthiness” of soy products which is that we, as humans were never meant to consume the soy bean product in such high quantities, as in drinking glasses upon glasses of soy milk to adequately meet our protein needs rather than deriving them from dairy if you are lacto-Paleo or other sources.  The Asian culture only eats fermented soy and as a condiment- not as a staple food product for majority of their meals.  As with anything, moderation is key.  For additional information on soy click here: The Truth About Soy.


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