Selecting Healthy Protein-Containing Foods
Keep in mind that the nutrient and caloric levels of each protein source varies greatly. For example, while an ounce of salmon contains the same amount of protein as a one ounce portion of pork, the salmon is a better choice because it contains healthy omega three fatty acids, which relieve inflammation.
Eat a wide array of protein and other types of food for maximum nutrition and pleasure. Lean protein products from animals and vegetable sources of protein can be very healthy foods, but how you prepare them affects their benefits. While the protein content remains intact regardless of how you prepare a dish such as chicken, if you choose to deep fry that protein, you are adding unhealthy calories and fat to your diet. The healthiest foods are eaten raw. If raw is not an option, prepare foods by braising, roasting, or broiling.
Meat and meat products from grass-fed, organic, or wild animals is preferable as it is leaner, less processed and has fewer chemicals in it when compared with mass-produced products.
Can I Get Enough Protein If I Am a Vegetarian or Vegan?
Many people worry that they can’t get enough protein by eating vegetarian or vegan diets. This is simply not true. Multiple research studies have proven that vegetarian diets easily provide adequate amounts of top quality protein.
In addition, by obtaining protein from vegetable sources, you are able to reap the many nutritional benefits plant-based foods offer. They are often low in calories, rich in fiber, and packed with a wide array of antioxidants, pigments, and other healthy compounds.
Unlike animal-based sources of protein, which contain varying levels of fat and cholesterol, food sourced from plants is generally lower in fats and does not contain any cholesterol.
Are Plant and Animal Proteins Created Equal?
Protein from animals contains all of the essential amino acids you need to consume in your diet, but only a few plant-based foods contain all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Only soy and quinoa contain all nine essential amino acids, and so are classified as complete proteins.
One advantage of eating a plant-based diet is that the foods have a mild alkalizing effect on your body. Meats and animal proteins cause your tissues to become more acidic, and acidity contributes to many health problems, including bone loss.
Protein and Osteoporosis: The Bottom Line
Eating a wide variety of protein-containing foods throughout your lifespan can help your bones to remain strong. Consuming most or all of your protein from plant sources offers multiple benefits for your bones and general level of wellness.
Consult with your health care provider for specific recommendations regarding the amount of protein which you should consume each day.