7 protein powerhouses

The best foods to fuel your body
By Michelle Gelok, RD
AlmondsIf you think stocking up on protein is just for body builders, think again. Protein doesn’t just help build muscle, it also maintains and repairs cells throughout the body. Foods rich in protein also provide amino acids, compounds that play an important role in making hormones, antibodies and enzymes. What’s more, protein gets top marks when it comes to keeping blood sugar levels stable, and curbing appetite. Protein requirements vary depending on your age, weight and activity level. Generally speaking, if you’re a healthy adult and moderately active, count on 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For instance, a 150 pound (68 kg) woman should be getting about 55 grams of protein per day. Choose wisely Go lean: Certain foods rich in protein also tend to be high in saturated fat. If meat or poultry is on the menu, be sure to choose lean cuts of meat, remove the skin and trim visible fat before cooking. Added benefits: Some foods offer a lot more than a boost of protein. Opt for protein sources with the added benefit of other nutrients. For instance beans are rich in fibre, and fish will also provide heart-healthy fatty acids. Mix it up: Rely on both plant and animal sources of protein to meet your daily requirement. Your diet will be well rounded and you’ll be getting a variety of nutrients at the same time. Top protein picks Nuts: Though they often get a bad rap for their fat content, nuts are an excellent source of protein and contain heart-healthy unsaturated fat. 1/4 cup walnuts = 4 g protein 1/4 cup almonds = 8 g protein Legumes: Protein from beans and lentils comes with the added bonus of an exceptionally high fibre boost. 3/4 cup black beans = 11 g protein 3/4 cup lentils = 13 g protein Fish: This lean alternative to meat and poultry offers a hefty dose of omega-3 fatty acids. 2.5 oz/75 g salmon = 19 g protein 2.5 oz/75 g trout = 18 g protein Dairy: Milk products provide both a good source of protein and calcium. 1 cup 1% milk = 8 g protein 3/4 cup yogurt = 8 g protein Eggs: Affordable and convenient, eggs are an easy way to up your protein intake — and they’re one of the few natural sources of vitamin D. 1 large egg = 6 g protein Soy: One of the few plant sources of protein that contain all nine essential amino acids, soy offers a high quality protein similar to meat and poultry. 3/4 cup tofu = 24 g protein 1 cup fortified soy beverage = 7 g protein Quinoa: Aside from its protein content, this ancient grain is also high in iron. 2/3 cup cooked quinoa = 5 g protein


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