If you have been researching low carb diets and the Paleo diet in particular you will have noticed that they all have one thing in common. They recommend that you increase your intake of protein.
This may come across as strange especially if you are trying to lose weight. Doesn’t protein contain high amounts of fat and cholesterol and should be limited?
Well that is not exactly true. The truth about protein is that your body needs protein for energy and to build muscle. Yes most people could benefit from increasing their protein intake. But knowing which proteins to eat is important.
The Functions of Protein
Your body needs protein to build and maintain muscles, organs, connective tissues, skin, bones, teeth and blood. Protein provides your body with energy, eating more protein when sick will help your recover quickly. If you didn’t eat protein your body would feel weak and exercising would be almost impossible.
Almost all of your bodily functions require the use of enzymes such as digestion. Protein helps to form enzymes in your body. Antibodies are the protein which is found in your blood and helps fight bacteria and toxins. Hormones contain protein and are responsible for sending messages throughout your body.
If you consume too much protein your body will store the excess as fat. Good sources of protein are lean sources such as turkey, chicken and fish.
Truth about Protein
Because so many people choose meat as their protein source animals are now raised with manufacturers having one thing in mind. Making a profit from what they sell. This is why today’s animals are fed chemicals to help them grow and to keep them disease free. Unfortunately this makes eating meat not as healthy as it once was.
To combat this you can choose to purchase meat and poultry which has been raised as organic, free range or as natural choices. Many people on the Paleo diet prefer to shop for grass fed protein sources. This is in keeping with eating the way your ancestors did many years ago.
Your Best Sources of Protein
The Paleo diet suggests that you consume high amounts of protein each day, around the 35% mark. When choosing protein look for very lean sources such as rabbit, lean chicken and turkey, lean beef cuts and lamb.
Fish is an excellent source of protein and low in fat. Salmon and mackerel have higher amounts of Omega 3 which is good for you and should be included in your diet.
You will want to consume protein at every meal so having eggs for breakfast is a good start to your day. Eggs can be combined with peppers and mushrooms and turned into scrambled eggs or even an omelette.
Protein choices for lunch can include a tuna, chicken or turkey salad. For dinner you could have grilled salmon or roasted lamb along with plenty of high fibre vegetables, broccoli and Swiss chard are good examples.
Once you get used to eating a little more protein at every meal your body will start to feel the benefits. You will notice that you probably have more energy and that your muscles feel less sore after exercising.
Here is a bit of a list of high protein foods. As you look through the list I am sure you will be able to find even more high protein foods just by thinking about it.
Peanut butter (2 tbsp) Protein- 8 g Calories- 188
Raw almonds (19 pieces) Protein- 7 g Calories- 180
Almond butter (1 tbsp) Protein- 2 g Calories- 101
Skinless chicken breast (1 cup) Protein- 38 g Calories- 258
Ground beef (90% lean, 3 oz) Protein- 23 g Calories- 182
Ground turkey (3 oz) Protein- 22 g Calories- 193
Salmon (half fillet) Protein- 39 g Calories- 367
Tuna (canned, 1 cup) Protein- 39 g Calories- 179
Deli turkey (1 oz) Protein- 4 g Calories- 31
My favorite high protein foods? Definitely Tuna and ground Turkey. Ground Turkey is a great alternative to Ground Beef because it is lower in fat.