Protein is one of the basic components of food and makes all life possible. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. All of the antibodies and enzymes, and many of the hormones in the body are proteins. They provide for the transport of nutrients, oxygen and waste throughout the body. They provide the structure and contracting capability of muscles. They also provide collagen to connective tissues of the body and to the tissues of the skin, hair and nails. You should aim to consume protein with every meal, not only because protein will keep nitrogen levels high which will result in muscle growth. But because protein compared to all the other macronutrients (carbohydrates & fats) has the greatest thermogenic effect. Protein has a thermogenic effect of 30% which means that for every 100 calories you eat, 30 calories are burned by your body to digest the food leaving you with 70 net calories.
LIST OF FOODS HIGH IN PROTEIN.
MEATS – Meat cuts should be lean, trimmed & skinless.
- Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Goose, Game Birds, etc. (Be sure to remove skin. If buying ground meat ensure it is lean.)
- Red Meat: Any quality lean meat from Cows, Elk, Buffalo, Kangaroo, Game. (If buying ground meat ensure it is lean.)
- Other Meats: Pork, Lamb, Lean Ham, etc. (Ensure you buy the leaner cuts as these meats can be quite fatty.)
- Fish: Fresh Cod, Snapper, Salmon, Swordfish, Canned Fish. (Most fish are lean but the fattier fish are high in healthy fats)
- Shellfish: Includes: Mussels, Oysters, Scallops, Prawns, Lobsters, etc.
DAIRY – Choose mostly low fat dairy products
- Milk, Powdered Milk (Choose mostly skim milk. Can be Cow/goat/sheep, etc)
- Low Fat Cottage Cheese & Natural Yoghurt. (These foods include the benefits ofbacterial cultures to improve gut health)
- Cheeses & Other Dairy Products. (Cheeses are very high in fat, choose softercheeses where possible)
- Eggs, Powdered Egg (Egg whites are pure protein, egg yolks contain fat andprotein)
VEGETABLE PROTEINS – Vegetable proteins are often “incomplete” so it is wise to vary them or add dairy/meat
- Raw Nuts & Seeds: (These are also high in healthy fats and contain carbohydrate)
- Grain Protein: (Many grains eg: wheats, rices, etc contain significant amounts of proteins)
- Bean/Vegetable Protein: (Soyabeans are the main protein source here, although other beans and vegetables contain protein)
PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS – These are available in powders/bars/drinks/etc.
- Whey Protein: (A fast digesting milk protein. Available in various forms/fractions)
- Casein Protein: (A slow digesting milk protein.)
- Soy Protein: (Derived from soyabeans.)
- Egg Protein: (Primarily the protein albumin, this is a slow digesting protein)
- Vegetable Proteins: (Can be found in the form of Wheat, Pea, Spirulina Protein, etc)
- Amino Acids: (These are the building blocks of proteins. They are present in protein containing foods or available as free form powders or capsules. The essential amino acids * are amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body from other available resources, and therefore must be supplied as part of the diet. “Complete” proteins contain all of these, whilst “incomplete” proteins do not. The amino acids are:
- Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine*, Leucine*, Lysine, Methionine*, Phenylalanine*, Proline, Serine, Threonine*, Tryptophan*, Tyrosine, Valine*