Medically reviewed by Darshita Thakkar, Nutrition Training and Quality Manager for PAN India
We all know that a protein rich food diet helps in weight loss and hence always aims to have more and more of it in our meals. But, have you ever paused and wondered about the importance of protein in the diet?
Table of Contents:
- Importance of Protein
- Health Benefits of Protein
- Protein Intake for Weight Loss
- Role of Protein Rich Food for Weight Loss
Did you know, your muscle percentage will determine how much protein you need for weight loss. A Possible Nutritionist can help you in this regard.
Here is a Free Nutrition Counselling with an expert Possible Nutritionist that you can avail.
Importance of Protein
Physiologically speaking, proteins belong to a class of organic compounds called polyamides: poly means many whereas amides mean amino acids. There is a total of 20 amino acids which make different proteins in different combinations.
Of them, 9 is essential amino acids which need to be provided from the diet. Proteins make up about 15% of our body mass. Not just that, our muscles, cartilage, ligaments, skin, and even our hair are made up of protein!
So it’s easy to understand now, that since they are the building blocks of our body, quite literally, we need to keep a special check on their adequate intake.
To help you find the best protein sources, here are 10 High Protein food listed by Our Nutritionist
1. Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Halibut)
Fishes like Tuna, Salmon aren’t just high in proteins but are also very low in fat. This makes fishes one of the most popular high protein food items. Also, Salmon is blessed with omega-3-fatty acids. These fatty acids have been proven to be essential for nerve functioning and also regulating body hormones.
- Tuna 100 gms- 30gm of Protein
- Salmon 100 gms- 20 gm of Protein
- Halibut 100 gms- 14 gm of Protein
2. Lean Chicken (chicken breast)
Good news for all the chicken lovers, it is dietician recommended that by modifying the way of preparing chicken, it can be a great protein source to us. Especially, chicken breasts are amazing lean protein sources. Also, it is skinless chicken is a healthier choice for a protein source. You can try out marinated chicken salad for a delicious and healthy lunch.
- Chicken Breast 100 gms- 20 gm of Protein
3. Cheese (Non-Fat Mozzarella)
Cheese can be a great source of protein besides also being rich in calcium and vitamin. You can add cheese to many of your daily snacks.
However, choose the non-fat varieties of cheese. One such nutritionist-recommended cheese type is the Non-Fat Mozzarella which has fewer calories than the regular mozzarella. So now you can prepare some homemade pizzas or salads with Non-Fat Mozzarella.
- Non-Fat Mozzarella Cheese: 149 calories,
- Protein: 32%, Carb: 4%, Fat: 0%,
- Other (water): 64%
4. Lean Beef (Low Fat)
Lean beef is an excellent source of proteins. Not just that, it is also a great source of iron, zinc and vitamin B12. To have healthy beef treats, you can try grilled beef with your favourite veggies. You can also try beef kababs with broccoli.
- Lean ground beef 100 gms- 26 gms of Protein
5. Pork Loin (Chops)
Pork is a delicious source of protein. Lean cuts of pork like pork tenderloin, are the best option to get protein. Pork Loin is also a source of B vitamins like thiamin, niacin, B6 and B12 and contains just about 2 grams of saturated fat.
1/2 cup of tofu gives you 8 – 10 grams of protein. Besides this, tofu is a proven source of essential amino acids, iron as well as calcium. It also contains the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. Moreover, bean curd or tofu is also a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. Tofu also contains phytoestrogen that helps in dealing with menopause in women.
7. Yogurt and milk
Both yogurt and milk are high protein sources that also come with different health benefits. For a better option, Greek Yogurt should be chosen. Not just protein, they also contain calcium and vitamin D. Milk also contains phosphorus.
- Yogurt (Greek and nonfat) 100 gms- 10 gm of Protein
- Milk 1 Liter – 32 gms of protein
8. Beans (Mature Soy Beans)
Beans are the most inexpensive high protein sources. Soybeans are the plant sources of proteins that the vegetarians totally relish. Glycinin and conglycinin are the chief proteins present in soybeans.
9. Eggs (Especially Egg Whites)
How can there be a high-protein source list without eggs? Yes, whole eggs are nutritionally blessed with high-quality protein. Moreover, the egg white portion of a whole egg contains vitamin B2, B6, B12, D, selenium and minerals like zinc, iron and copper.
- 1 large egg contains 6 grams of protein.
10. Nuts and Seeds
If you aren’t a meat lover, nuts and seeds can be your ultimate high protein sources. In addition to proteins, nuts and seeds also contain fiber minerals, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. The best part, you can have them anywhere!
Examples of nutritionist recommended high protein nuts and seeds are pumpkin seeds, peanuts, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.
4 Recommended Health Benefits of Protein
- Every cell in the human body contains protein. It is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is also found in all body fluids, except bile and urine.
- You need protein rich food in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones.
- A protein-rich food is also important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
- Protein is required for our immune system to synthesize neurotransmitters, for creation & signalling of hormones.
Additional Read: How protein powers Virat Kohli! Read here.
What is the main use of protein in the body?
Right from enzymes, neurotransmitters, hormones, muscles, cell membranes, general wear and tear, even growth; protein does many functions in the body.
Scientific Role of Protein Rich Food for Weight Loss
Protein-rich foods are generally heavy and require more efforts at digestion. Protein also keeps you feeling full for longer which means you don’t snack on unhealthy options. In addition, muscles are the most metabolically active tissue in the body and protein helps make them!
A study found that dieters who increased the consumption of protein by 30% ate lesser energy and lost close to 6 kilos over a period of 12 weeks! So now you know why a protein diet is preferred for weight loss.
Recommended Daily Protein Intake for Weight Loss
As per ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) recommendations, daily protein requirements should be::
- Adults need 0.8-1 gm/kg body weight/day
- Children need 1.5 gm/kg body weight/day
- Pregnant & Lactating women need 1.75 gm/kg body weight/day
- Professional athletes require close to 2 gm/kg body weight/day
It’s also important to know that a daily protein requirement should not be based on the percentage of calories
Are you a vegetarian? Then these 10 complete protein sources will feature in any high protein vegetarian diet.
Additional Read: This is the best source of vegetarian protein, even for non-vegetarians!
Protein, as we see, is quite important for body functioning. And including high protein foods into your diet can help you in weight loss too.
So now that you know the high protein sources, include them in your meal plans smartly and maintain a balanced diet! Happy eating!