Protein

Protein:

proteinProtein is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in cell growth, repair, and overall bodily functions. It is necessary to consume an adequate amount of protein daily, and the specific protein requirement varies based on factors such as weight, gender, age, and health condition.

To obtain the health benefits of protein, it is important to consume the right quantity and quality of protein. Protein can aid in weight management by promoting satiety. It can keep you feeling full while helping you shed unwanted pounds. However, it is crucial to choose protein sources wisely.

Seafood, for instance, is an excellent protein source as it is generally low in fat. Fish like salmon, although slightly higher in fat, contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. When opting for poultry, it is recommended to stick to white-meat varieties for their lean protein content. Dark meat tends to have higher fat levels, and removing the skin before consumption is advised due to its saturated fat content.

In addition to being great protein sources, dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt also provide valuable calcium. Many dairy products are fortified with vitamin D, which is beneficial for bone and teeth health and helps prevent osteoporosis. Choosing skim or low-fat dairy options is recommended to maintain strong bones and teeth while supporting overall health.

Eggs are a cost-effective protein option. The American Heart Association suggests that healthy adults can safely consume an egg per day. Beans are another noteworthy choice, as half a cup of beans offers as much plant-based protein as an ounce of broiled steak. They are also fiber-rich, contributing to a feeling of fullness for extended periods.

Pork tenderloin is a versatile white meat that has become 31% leaner over the past two decades. Incorporating soy protein into your diet can be beneficial for heart health, as consuming 50 grams of soy protein daily can help reduce cholesterol levels by approximately 3%. Opting for plant-based soy protein over higher-fat protein sources, combined with a healthy diet, can contribute positively to heart health.

For a better understanding of protein content in common food items, refer to Tables 1 and 2 below. These tables provide the protein content per 100 grams of various animal and plant-based protein sources commonly found in the diet.

Food type Protein content (g)

per 100g

Meat Chicken breast (grilled, without skin)
Pork chop (lean, grilled)
Beef steak (lean, grilled)
Lamb chop (lean, grilled)
32.0
31.6
31.0
29.2
Fish Tuna (canned in brine)
Salmon (grilled)
Cod (baked)
Mackerel (grilled)
24.9
24.6
23.9
20.3
Seafood Crab (canned in brine)
Mussels (cooked)
Prawns (cooked)
18.1
17.7
15.4
Eggs Chicken egg (whole, boiled) 14.1
Dairy Whole milk
Semi-skimmed milk
Skimmed milk
Cheddar cheese
Reduced-fat cheddar
Cottage cheese
Plain Greek-style yogurt
Plain low-fat yogurt
3.4
3.5
3.5
25.4
27.9
9.4
5.7
4.8

 

Plant sources of protein

  Food type Protein content (g)

per 100g

Pulses Red lentils (boiled)
Chickpeas (canned)
7.6
7.2
Beans Tofu (steamed)
Kidney beans (canned)
Baked beans
8.1
6.9
5.0
Grains Wheat flour (brown)
Rice (easy cook, boiled)
Bread (brown)
Bread (white)
Pasta (dried cooked)
Porridge oats
12.2
10.9
7.9
7.9
4.8
3.0
Nuts Almonds
Walnuts
Hazelnuts
21.1
14.7
14.1

Source: McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods. 2015

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