Natural proteins energizes the body, boosts immunity and controls metabolic functions. Proteins are important building blocks contributing to the growth and strength of bones, muscles, ligaments and tissues.
Protein deficiency, on the other hand, can cause a weak heart, loss of muscle tissues, and weak immunity, making you prone to catch diseases.
So it’s important to follow a balanced, nutritious diet including a healthy dose of natural protein foods.
How Much Protein You Need?
Compared the carbohydrates, we don’t need as much proteins. Keeping about 10-15% of your intake as protein is a general rule of thumb.
Consuming more protein than required can also be as harmful as being deficient in protein, causing a negative impact on your health and well- being. So it is very important to take proteins in just the right quantity.
That’s why the recommended dietary allowance for proteins is
• 0.8 gm per kg if you’re an adult
• 70 gm per day for pregnant women
• more than 0.8 gm per kg for active and the elderly
Healthy and Natural Protein Foods
Although there are a number of food sources that provide proteins in ample amounts, most people know about and stick to just a handful of choices. These mostly include animal meat, eggs, poultry, seafood and dairy products such as milk and paneer.
No doubt these have vital amino acids to meet our protein requirements, but there are several alternative sources of protein. And they can make up for your daily protein needs just as much, if not more than meat and dairy products.
In fact, the nutrients present in alternative foods are free from the fats that usually accompany protein in animal sources. Apart from having high levels of protein, the foods below are also low in fat and high in fiber.
All these benefits keep you feeling full for a long time, and maintain healthy skin and hair too.
Protein Rich Fruits
Did you know that fruits like Guava, Avocado, Tangerine and more are rich sources of protein?
• A Guava has 3 gm of protein. And apart from natural protein, it also contains calcium and Vitamin C.
• One of the most nutritious fruits, Avocado, also contains protein in good amount (5 gm per 8 ounces).
• The summer-fruit Apricot is a rich source of fiber, beta-carotene and 0.49 gm protein. Other than that, Apricot also has Vitamin A, which is a must for good vision, plenty of antioxidants, and Vitamin C.
• Tangerine is one of the best sources of natural protein as well. One big fruit has 1 gm protein.
• Dates are another source of rich protein with numerous health benefits. A hundred grams of fresh dates have 2.50 gm protein.
• The delicious pulp of a tender coconut is another choice rich in natural protein. You can also have coconut milk which is rich in not just proteins but healthy fats also.
• Banana, the breakfast fruit, has 4 gm protein in every 100 gm. Eat it raw, shake with milk, or prepare a tasty curry. Bananas also benefit those facing constipation issues.
• Canned, raw, or syrup, whatever form they take, Blueberries can add a nice amount of natural protein to your diet. A bowl of blueberries can easily deliver about 1.10 gm protein
Vegetables With Natural Protein
Rich in fiber and beneficial for the digestive tract, there are several vegetable sources of protein. Make a tasty curry, soup or just eat them mashed or steamed.
• One such vegetable is Cauliflower (3 gm protein per serving). In addition, it also has Vitamin K and anti-inflammatory properties serving various body functions.
• Low on fat and rich in natural protein, broccoli also is a good source of essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron and fiber. A ½ cup of broccoli has 2 gm of protein.
• No diet is complete without Popeye’s favorite – Spinach. A cup of cooked spinach gives you 5 gm of protein. Spinach is one food also abundant with Vitamin A, iron and almost all B-complex vitamins.
• An excellent addon to pizza, soups and various other recipes, sweet corn has 3mg of protein per serving. Plus it’s a really good provider of antioxidants and B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, folate, niacin and pantothenic acids.
The processed products made from Soy are a natural blend of proteins and carbohydrates.
In addition, they play a major role in reducing diseases of the heart, lower the bad cholesterol and support good cholesterol. 140 gm of Tofu can provide more than 10 gm protein, plus vital nutrients like magnesium and iron.
Another great choice is Soy milk, with 8 ounces containing 7 gm protein. Once you add this super-healthy drink to your daily diet, you won’t have to worry about meeting your daily recommended allowance.
Whole Wheat Foods
Whole wheat bread differs from the traditional refined bread in a number of ways, including how it is processed.
Whole wheat bread, noodles and pasta varieties are generally high in proteins. They also have a lot of other benefits. And the best thing is, they can easily be a part of any meal and work as a complimentary item for great taste.
Beans & Legumes
Peas, lentils and beans like white, pinto, garbanzo, and kidney beans, all are packed with natural protein. Other than that, they are also loaded with vital amino acids and dietary fiber.
• Black beans have 7.5 gm of protein and are really low in fat
• Chickpeas are another source with 16 gm of protein in 100 gm.
• Kidney beans are known to provide 7.5 gm of protein/100 gm.
Almonds & Peanuts
Nuts like almonds and peanuts not only give numerous health benefits, but also include a high amount of natural protein. Eat just ¼ cup of almonds a day and you’ll have consumed 8 grams protein.
Add them to other dishes and salads for extra favor, or just eat raw. Almonds are also a good source of monounsaturated fats. These are considered good for your heart.
Peanut is another choice. 30 gm peanut butter equals 8 gm protein. The only downside however, is that Peanut butter also has high fat content. So it’s better to add this to your daily diet in moderation.
Flavor the traditional bread toast with this evergreen spread, or add to smoothies or shakes. No matter how you take it, it’s a delicious option to consume the required proteins for vegetarians.
So these were some little-known food which are abundant in protein and will help you get stronger and healthier.
But keep in mind that a balanced diet includes not just a proper amount of protein, but also good portions of other nutrients.
You don’t have to start taking all of these foods right now, but add at least some in your diet. When combined with other vital nutrients, they are sure to generate positive results.