You may have heard before that proteins are the building blocks of life and how important protein is for repairing bodily cells, making new cells, and aiding growth and development. Athletes and bodybuilders are often consumed with getting enough protein in their diets to support their performance, but the rest of us need plenty of protein too just to stay healthy and strong for daily activities.
To guide you through the maze of protein sources available today through foods and supplementation, here’s a look at the healthiest and unhealthiest types of protein you can put in your body.
How Much Protein Is Enough?
The recommended amount of protein for a sedentary adult is 0.36 grams of program per pound of body weight. When you do the math, this comes out to about 56 grams of protein per day for the average man and 46 grams for the average woman in America. Most Americans, especially men, get about twice as much protein as they actually need in their diets because of high meat consumption in this country. As a general rule, only about 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein.
If you are more active and exercise often, your body will need more protein to fuel this energy. Protein-rich foods can help you feel full for longer than if you were only eating carbs and fats. However, protein should still be consumed in moderation, even for athletes. This is because too much protein can damage your kidneys and liver, especially if you have a history of kidney or liver issues in your family.
Healthy Protein Sources
Many people only think about big cuts of steak when they are looking to increase their protein intake. But there are actually many types of protein that are healthy and that will help your body function in an optimal way.
Here are some of the healthiest sources of protein to focus on in your diet:
- Fish (salmon, tuna, haddock, or trout)
- White meat chicken and turkey
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Other low-fat dairy products
- Lean cuts of pork and beer
- Egg whites
Less Healthy Proteins
However, not all protein sources are created equal, and some are better left untouched in favor of healthier options. Here are some less-healthy types of protein to avoid in your diet:
- Processed meats, like hot dogs and sausages
- Pork, beef, and lamb feed with grain
- Deep-fried meats
- Low-quality protein powder
- Grain and cereal-based products
- Sugary, flavored yogurts
- Processed protein bars
Supplementing Your Diet with Protein
Many people who work out or who are looking for a quick fix to build muscle turn to protein powders that can be mixed with water or smoothies. There is a lot of difference between the various protein powders on the market though since the sports supplement market is quite unregulated. If you want to try a protein powder, opt for the most natural products you can find and that have 200 or less calories, two grams or less of saturated fat, no trans fat, and less than five grams of sugar per serving.
Meanwhile, Seagate’s Marine Protein capsules offer an excellent source of protein from freeze-dried 75% protein concentrate that comes from whole sardines and anchovies. One serving of these capsules per day will give you five grams of protein, which is about 10-15% of the adult daily protein requirement and also 246 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a safe and efficient way to get more fish in your diet and make sure you’re getting the protein your body needs.