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9 of The Best Sources Of Protein You Need To Know About

9 of The Best Sources Of Protein You Need To Know About

You probably know protein is an important part of a healthful diet, but are you really getting enough? Protein is required to keep your body running at an optimal level. Protein is broken down into amino acid building blocks in your digestive tract, which are used to synthesize hormones, support proper organ function, repair damaged cells or generate new ones.

The current RDA (or Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein, according to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), for protein is 0.8 g/kg/day for adults over 18 years of age. This intake was defined by the IOM as the level requiews to meet sufficient protein requirements for the majority of healthy individuals. However, this is a recommendation to prevent deficiencies rather than support optimal health.

Additionally, the IOM has established an Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for protein. The AMDR for protein falls between 10-35% of calories coming from protein. Interestingly, we consume only about 16% of calories from protein, demonstrating that protein intake actually tends to be on the low end of the scale and that there is quite a bit of room to increase intake.

Because of this, the recommendation is currently under debate in relation to the needs of certain population groups such as athletes or fitness enthusiasts. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that although athletes need only about 1 gram/kilogram/day of protein to maintain muscle mass, to build muscle mass, you need to eat about 1.4-1.8 grams/kilogram/day. A conversion tool can help you change your weight in pounds to kilograms.

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Protein foods should be part of every meal to insure you have a consistent supply of powerful amino acid building blocks available in your body throughout the day. Here are some of the best protein food sources to include in your regular diet.

Meat

It may be an obvious choice, but meat is a great protein source offering 25 grams in a three-ounce serving (about the size of a deck of cards). In addition, meat contains the important B-complex vitamins necessary for the metabolic process of turning food into energy. Red meat like beef and lamb are also good sources of iron and zinc. Choose lean protein such as poultry—like chicken and turkey— or lean cuts of pork, beef or lamb, which will help keep your calorie total in check. Beef jerky or turkey jerky are also great on-the-go protein packed snacks.

Seafood

Whether it’s sushi-grade salmon or canned (or pouched!) tuna, fatty fish give you about 20 grams of protein per three-ounce serving, along with a hefty dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. But don’t forget other seafood sources. Shrimp, trout, tilapia and calamari offer between 15 and 20 grams of protein in just three ounces. Choose the fish you like best, and try to make seafood part of your diet each week.

Eggs

One little egg packs 6 big grams of protein. The majority of the protein content in an egg is from the white, but the yolk houses micronutrients like choline that supports cell structure and behavior. So crack open an egg tomorrow morning, snag a hard-boiled one for a mid-morning snack, or toss a fried egg over sautéed veggies for a quick weeknight dinner.

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Yogurt

A one-cup serving of plain yogurt contains 11 grams of protein. Since Greek yogurt can pack on about 2 times the amount of protein, you can see why the thicker Greek variety is getting all the protein hype these days. But the truth is, all yogurts are a good source of protein, as well as gut-health supporting probiotics. Yogurt comes in large tubs, in single serving cups, or even no-spoon-required tubes, so choose the one that suits your lifestyle and dig into this protein packed option. Jazz up plain yogurt with sliced or dried fruit, or use Greek yogurt as a substitute for mayo or oil in savory and sweet recipes alike.

Milk

Looking for a protein hit with every sip? Whether you prefer dairy or non-dairy alternatives, many milk beverages contain protein. How does your favorite measure up per one-cup serving? Remember, every little bit counts!

  • Skim dairy milk= 8 grams
  • Plain soy milk= 6 grams
  • Plain almond milk= 1 gram
  • Rice milk= 1 gram

Soy

Plant-based protein sources are vital for vegetarians and vegans, but meat eaters should also include these next few protein sources in their diet.

The trick to meeting your protein requirement from plant foods is to maintain variety. Each animal-based protein source offers all of the 9 amino acids that must come from our diets, but plant foods do not. Eating a wide variety of plant protein sources will help you get the essential amino acids you need.

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Also, plant-based foods offer health-promoting phytochemicals. For example, soy contains isoflavones, an antioxidant that along with soy’s protein content is thought to reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. There are a wide variety of soy foods to consider adding to your protein routine. We already mentioned soy milk, so here is the protein content in other common soy based foods:

  • Edamame= one-cup, 17 grams
  • Soy nuts= half-cup, 16 grams
  • Firm tofu= three-ounces, 7 grams
  • Soy-based breakfast sausage= one patty, 10 grams
  • Soy-based burger, one patty= 11 grams

Nuts

A single handful of nuts, about one-ounce, provides 3 to 6 grams of protein (almonds and pistachios are among the highest). Nuts also offer a wide range of antioxidants and healthful fats, which makes them both nutrient-dense and relatively high in calories. So stick to just one-ounce per day as a snack or tossed on a salad. If you choose nut butters, stick to about one tablespoon.

Beans

Fiber may be at the top of your mind when you think about the nutritional content of beans, but their protein content cannot be ignored. For a one-cup serving, black and pinto beans offer 12 grams of protein, garbanzo beans have 16 grams, and lentils give you 17 grams! Beans are an inexpensive and filling way to add a hefty protein content to your day. Dry beans can be prepared ahead of time, and stored in the refrigerator for the week.

Whole Grains

Grains are often a protein source that can complement the plant foods (listed above) to ensure you are consuming the necessary amino acids in the right amounts. If protein content is your goal, make sure your grains are whole. One-cup servings of grains offer a range of protein totals:

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  • Quinoa= 8 grams
  • Whole wheat pasta= 8 grams
  • Buckwheat= 6 grams
  • Brown rice= 5 grams
  • Barley= 4 grams
  • 100% whole grain bread (one slice)= 4 grams

As with all foods, variety is important. Thankfully, grains pair well with almost any food—so get creative. A few plant-based combinations to try: brown rice with black beans, whole grain toast with almond butter, a quinoa salad with edamame, or a wheat roll with lentil soup.

Getting adequate protein is possible (and delicious) if your diet includes protein-rich foods throughout the day. Now you’re equipped to choose combinations you like in order to meet your daily needs.

For more guidance on your specific protein requirements, or how to pair protein sources, check out the resource below:

Kelda Reimers, Dietetic Intern at the University of Maryland, College Park contributed to this piece.

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

5 Reasons Why Tidying Your Room Can Change Your Life

5 Reasons Why Tidying Your Room Can Change Your Life

You step into your room and stumble upon something hard that hurts you, you have to tiptoe your way to your bed because there is not enough space to walk, your bed has huge piles of clothing spread everywhere, your table groans under books, newspapers, cups, and all other kinds of stuff, and your closet looks like a ransacked outlet store post-Black Friday. If that’s a common scenario for you, then you are living in a space that disrupts your ability to use it well.

Your room is the place where you start and end your day. Whether you are aware of it or not, the physical space in which you live and spend a lot of your time has an important role to play in how we behave. Having a bedroom in such a messed state can have a variety of effects on your life. Our mind cannot live completely independent from our environment; therefore, keeping the room tidy, organized, and clean is significant. A straightened room with a made bed and pile-free floor will not only bring happiness and organization to your life, it will also change your life!

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Video Summary

Here are five reasons that can spark the desire in you for tidying your room to create change in your life.

1. You will know what resources you have

Do you find yourself looking everywhere for your matching bracelet or clothes when going for a party or out with friends? Or does it happen that you buy a pair of pants, only to find out later that you had a better one to match the shirt you were wearing to the event? Keeping your bedroom tidy will let you know what things you have – the shoes, clothes, jewelry, books, magazines, and stationary – that are among your belongings so that you don’t have to rummage for them everywhere or go and buy new things when you already have better alternatives.

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2. Your thoughts will also be tidied up

Tidying your place also tidies up your mind. It is suggested by psychologists that a messy room is a representation of a disorganized mental state. When one is tidy and organized it also builds into their life, helping them in everything.

As Marie Kondo states in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, “From the moment you start tidying, you will be compelled to reset your life. As a result, your life will start to change.” So, if you want to bring a change to your life, go ahead with cleaning and organizing your space and start a tidying marathon.

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3. Tidying your room can save you time

Tidying your room and organizing your space not only lets you know about the stuff that you have, but it can also save you a lot of time, since you will know where to find something when you need it. Now, when you wake up early in the morning, you don’t have to search frantically as minutes tick by for your special pair of shoes, your watch, or the blouse that you really wanted to wear. The start of your day will be a smooth one instead, and you will be able to make it out of the door to your work or college on time.

4. You will be more social

Would you like your friend to see your messy room? I would probably be too embarrassed if my friend came over and got to look at my room in a messy state. When you are ashamed of the state of your bedroom, it is less likelihood that you invite anyone over. On the other hand, when your house is clean, you are ready for company and are also more likely to invite or welcome someone over on the spur of the moment. Tidying your room helps in preventing the creation of a boundary around you; therefore, you will become more social.

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5. Your health will improve

Tidying your room also bring with itself some health benefits. When your bedroom becomes a peaceful and ordered place with no clutter around, you will feel less stressed and less distracted. This means you can spend some relaxing time before bed and go to sleep calmly. From studies, it has been found that those who have cluttered bedrooms full of their hoardings take a long time to fall asleep and their sleep quality is also poor enough that it leads an increase chance of depression and stress. It’s clear enough. Tidying your room will have a positive effect on your health and the thought of going to the bedroom would be a pleasant and calming one. Not just this, but a tidy room will no more be home to bacteria and viruses that can compromise your health.

Conclusion

No doubt, cleaning up a really messy room and streamlining your surroundings is no easy job but, with a little determination and taking a methodical approach, it is totally doable. You just need to get started. Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, one of New York Times Best Sellers, can serve as the perfect manual to guide you. Happy Cleaning!

Featured photo credit: Allen Goldblatt via flickr.com

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