Regardless if you are a competitive athlete in training or a casual weekend fitness buff, healthy protein foods can have a direct impact on your health and performance on and off the field.
Eating the right protein foods can do many things. They can keep your belly feeling full, help you lose a few unwanted pounds, and increase your lean muscle mass (which will automatically have you looking slimmer).
The foods you eat are literally a form of fuel for your body. Those same muscles that you exercise are counting on proteins after your workouts to help with muscle recovery and maintenance.
I have listed a number of healthy protein foods that will help you to maintain good health and also promote peak performance for your workouts. The more of these foods you can eat, the better.
Almonds are a great in-between meal snack, they are high in fiber and when eaten with a big glass of water will leave you feeling full for awhile.
These nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, which is the same type of fat as olive oil. This type of fat has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease. Almonds have also been found to be beneficial in lowering your cholesterol and providing protection against some forms of cancer.
A study by Spanish scientists found that those who ate 3 or more servings a week were nearly 40 percent less likely to be obese than those who ate 1 or fewer servings.
Because of the calories, it is a good idea not to eat more than an ounce of almonds daily. Try almond butter sometimes as a tasty peanut butter.
Beans are one of the best healthy protein foods that are loaded with fiber. You can throw chickpeas on a salad or navy/kidney beans in your soup or chili instead of adding meat and come out a winner.
Meat is high in saturated fats and contains zero fiber, while the beans are low in fat and provide a healthy dose of fiber and other nutrients.
Like many. if not all the foods on this list. beans fight cancers, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Eggs are another really good source of high-quality protein. An egg breakfast can also help with weight loss.
A study was done that divided a number of overweight people into two groups. One group had a bagel breakfast while the other group had eggs. Both groups had the same calories in their meals and did this five times a week for eight weeks.
The egg eaters lost almost twice as much weight, had greater improvement in energy, and there were no significant differences in their cholesterol levels.
Based on it's high content of omega-3 fatty acid's, salmon without question is one of the best healthy protein foods to eat.
The omega-3 fatty acids are considered to be important in order to have our bodies function properly. Because omega-3's are not made in our bodies, we need to get them from what we eat.
Studies have shown that eating salmon has been linked to a decreased risk of numerous heart problems. The high levels of omega-3's and the antioxidant selenium are also important in cardiovascular protection.
Salmon also has a high level of vitamin-D which makes it good for brain health as well as lowering the risk of several forms of cancer.
I could go on and on explaining many other benefits of eating salmon, from good vision health to helping with more youthful looking skin. The bottom line is that salmon should be an important part of your diet.
Chicken is one of the most popular protein foods in the world. It is also one of the leanest meats you can find and is very high in quality protein which makes it a very nice alternative to red meat.
People who are meat eaters, but are trying to cut back on the fats in their meals can try eating more chicken. It also provides for a couple of important nutrients, niacin and B-6. I try to get the organic or grass fed chicken if it is available.
Because yogurt comes from milk, yogurt eaters will get some animal protein as well as nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Many yogurts are made using a "good" bacteria. When you see the words "live and active cultures" on the yogurt container you know that the yogurt has probiotics. These work to strengthen your immune system or regulate your digestion.
A 6 oz. serving of yogurt has up to 10 grams of protein which is equal to a 2-3 oz.serving of meat. Greek yogurt contains even more protein.
Peanut Butter is one of my favorites. Loaded with protein and fiber, you just have to watch the calorie count. On a race day or long run, I like to have some peanut butter on a ½ bagel before I go.
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I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.