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21 of the Best Sources of Protein on the Planet
Vegans and meat eaters might argue, but one subject they can both agree on is that consuming enough protein is absolutely essential. Eating protein keeps your muscles strong, can help you lose weight, and is vital for keeping your blood healthy, as well as for maintaining energy levels.
The recommended intake of protein is 56 grams daily for men and 46 grams for women. Many health experts agree, however, that we actually need much more than that.
To keep up that buff bod, be sure that you eat plenty of protein each and every day. Check out our list of the top 21 sources of protein available anywhere on the plant so you can plan your diet around these muscle builders!
Everyone loves peanuts, but did you know that they are high in protein as well? It’s true! Peanuts also contain magnesium, an important mineral that most of us are deficient in. A handful or two of peanuts as a snack is a great way to get your protein on! Don’t forget that peanuts are also in a tasty food called peanut butter. Super yummy! Find out how to make peanut butter at home.
The incredible, edible egg is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. This breakfast time favorite is filled with vitamins, healthy fats, minerals, nutrients for the brain and antioxidants that help keep your eyes healthy. Oh, yes, they are also high in protein. One egg has about 6 grams of protein so grab a hard-boiled egg for a high protein snack this afternoon or put a couple on your lunch time salad.
3. Brussels Sprouts
Heads up, vegans! This may not be everyone’s favorite, but you can’t beat Brussels sprouts for protein. High in cancer fighting fiber, immune boosting vitamin C, and other nutrients, just a half cup of Brussels sprouts has 2 grams of protein.
This very popular tree nut is loaded with plenty of important nutrients including manganese, vitamin E, and magnesium. Just one ounce (about a handful) of almonds has 6 grams of protein. Other nuts that are also high in protein are cashews and pistachios, both of which have similar protein counts.
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5. Protein Shakes
One of the best things about protein shakes is that the combinations are virtually endless. One scoop of protein powder and any fruit or vegetable you want to add and you have a super vitamin filled source of protein. Protein amounts vary depending on the type and amount of powder you are using, so read the label to be sure you are getting a good amount to make the calories in your shake worth it.
Who doesn’t love the taste of shrimp?! Shrimp are low in calories but loaded with certain vital nutrients, including selenium and vitamin B12, which aren’t found in too many other foods. Shrimp also contain plenty of those healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One of the great things about shrimp is that it is almost pure protein with a 3 ounce serving having about 18 grams of protein but only a tiny 84 calories. Be aware of farmed shrimps.
7. Chicken Breast
This is probably one of the most popular protein-rich foods around. If you remove the skin first, you will have very few calories but tons of protein. An average, skinless chicken breast has about 53 grams of protein but only 284 calories.
Fish, regardless of the type, is always a good healthy choice. Loaded with those heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, low in calories, but high in many types of vitamins and minerals, depending on what fish you eat. The protein count varies depending on the species but one of the most popular types of fish, Salmon, has about 19 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving.
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Speaking of healthy, oats are perhaps the healthiest grains around. Oats have lots of healthy fiber, vitamin B1, magnesium, and manganese, along with other important vitamins. Just one half cup of oats has 13 grams of protein and about 300 calories.
10. Turkey Breast
As you might imagine, turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways; it’s high in protein and low in both calories and fat. One ounce of turkey breast (about 3 ounces) has 24 grams of protein and only 146 calories.
11. Cottage Cheese
An old dieter’s stand by, cottage cheese is not only tasty, but super healthy. This dairy product is simply loaded with calcium, vitamin B12, B2, phosphorus, selenium, and more. One cup of cottage cheese made from 2 percent milk fat, contains 27 whopping grams of protein and a skinny little 194 calories.
12. Pumpkin Seeds
These tasty little seeds from pumpkins are shockingly high in many nutrients including iron, zinc, and magnesium. Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds has 5 grams of protein but only 125 calories. Other seeds that are a great source of protein are flax seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds.
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13. Greek Yogurt
This famously thick type of yogurt not only tastes delicious, but is high in nutrients. Greek yogurt made from non-fat milk has 17 grams of protein but only 100 calories per 6 ounce container. Always choose a brand with no added sugar. Greek yogurt made from whole milk is also high in protein but has considerably more calories.
14. Ezekiel Bread
You might never have tasted this type of bread before and if you haven’t, you should! Made from organic and sprouted whole grains such as barley, spelt, wheat, and millet, it also contains legumes such as soybeans and lentils. When compared to most other types of bread, Ezekiel beats them all in regards to nutrition and protein, hands down. One slice of Ezekiel bread has 4 grams of protein and 80 calories.
Although highly nutritious, many people are lactose intolerant. If you are lucky enough to be able to digest it and you enjoy milk, this is an excellent source of protein. Believe it or not, milk contains a little bit of almost every single nutrient that the human body need. It is super high in calcium, B2, and phosphorus. One cup of whole milk has 8 grams of protein and 149 calories.
Lentils are one of the world’s best plant based sources of protein, so they are a great way for vegetarians to get their protein. Lentils are high in fiber, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, and manganese, among other nutrients. One cup of boiled lentils has a huge 18 grams of protein and 230 calories. This makes lentil soup a really attractive lunch time protein boost!
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Broccoli seems to be on every list of healthy foods, doesn’t it? This hearty, healthy vegetable is loaded with vitamin C, K, potassium, and colon healthy fiber. It also has bioactive nutrients that can protect us from certain types of cancer. Compared to many other vegetables, broccoli is higher in protein than most. One cup of chopped broccoli has 3 grams of protein but only 31 calories.
One of the world’s true super foods, this grain is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and tons of those healthy, anti-aging antioxidants. One cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein and 222 calories.
19. Whey Protein Supplements
Sometimes, you just don’t have time to cook. This is where whey protein supplements come into play. Whey is a high-quality protein derived from dairy foods and it has been shown to be super effective at building muscle mass. Protein content can vary between brands but they can have anywhere between 20 to 50 grams of protein per serving. Even the smallest amount of protein is a huge amount when you compare it to just about anything else on this list!
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Low in both fat and calories, tuna is a lunchtime favorite that is almost pure protein. Tuna might not be quite as high in those healthy omega-3 fatty acids as some other fish, like salmon, but it still packs a wallop of nutrition. One cup of tuna, packed in water, has 39 grams of protein but only 179 calories.
There is no denying it; beef is loaded with highly bioavailable iron, B12, and other nutrients. Just one serving (3 ounces) of cooked beef containing 10 percent fat has 22 grams of protein and only 184 calories.
Eating a diet high in protein and low in carbs is one of the best ways to keep your weight down while giving you longer lasting energy to keep you going all day long.