Protein Rich Foods: Benefits, Side-Effects And Easy Dishes To Eat Everyday

With benefits that include muscle growth, bone strengthening, and weight loss, protein is of the most important macro-nutrients for your body.

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The only time one thinks of protein is when one joins a gym. However, unbeknownst to you, protein is not only responsible for our muscle growth, but it is also one of the most abundant nutrients present in our body apart from water, and is, in fact, even part of our DNA. Apart from the usual advice about how protein is responsible for a growing body, it is equally important to note the protein is also used to form blood cells. But, if protein is such an essential resource that our body needs to grow, where can we find it? How do we make sure our protein-take is adequate and as per the requirements of our body? The answer is quite simple, actually. Protein is present in many things you eat everyday, and most of these are quite easily available. However, the amount of protein you need to consume depends on your requirements, our activity levels etc. A meal plan can then be designed to meet these requirements. If you need to increase the intake of protein in your diet then look no further than this list of protein-rich ingredients and dishes right here.

Foods Rich In Protein | Protein Rich Foods

Nature has given us several abundantly available, high-protein foods. And these provide us with natural alternatives to store bought whey protein.

To understand how to include protein rich items in your diet, you must understand that there are two very different methods of doing so. For example, your meal can include protein-rich ingredients such as egg, paneer, or seeds and nuts, or you could consume a plateful of your favourite protein-rich dish such as a fish/poultry based dish, and even paneer or soy based curry could do you right.

Protein Rich Raw Ingredients

One of the most beneficial characteristic about the protein based raw ingredients is that they can be consumed as a solo food item, and part from that, they can also be added as a part of a recipe in order to make a protein filled dish.

Some of the raw ingredients that are considered to be rich in protein are:

1. Eggs

The egg white is a popular source of protein, most would know that. One large egg is said to contain about 3.6g of protein, making it about 10% of the whole large egg (33g). Although there is a common misconception regarding the egg yolk, which is believed to be an harbinger of cholesterol, but it is safe to say that eating a whole egg is much more nutritious than just eating egg whites. The yolk of an egg contains important vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K, and moreover, there is an additional 2.7g of protein present in egg yolk.

protein based food items
The egg white is one of the most popular and rich sources of protein

2. Dairy Products

Dairy products are considered to be rich in protein as milk itself is a rich source of protein. However, a 100g of paneer would have more protein than milk, as in paneer the fats and protein are more concentrated than in milk. Paneer is formed by the process of coagulation of milk, in which the solid particles get separated from the liquid. The remaining liquid after coagulation is known as whey. Commercially this is further processed in order to be synthesized as a powder and marketed as a protein supplement. 

Review Reading: We review products over days, and sometimes weeks, so you can shop better. Read our Best Packaged Dahi To Buy Review here.

3. Soybean

Soybean is another example of a protein rich raw ingredient. Soybean related products such as soy milk are used as a dairy substitute for people who are lactose intolerant, and also provides them with the same amount of protein as a cup of milk.

4. Almonds

Considered good for our brain and helping in maintaining our cholesterol level, almonds, are also rich in protein. An almond contains about 0.3g of protein, which is about ¼ of its weight (1.2g). Though unlike other protein based food items such as eggs and dairy products, almonds do not lack a few of the amino acids, thus their intake is beneficial for maintenance and repair of our body tissues.

5. Chia Seeds

Over the last few years, Chia seeds have become famous for their many health related benefits. Loaded with antioxidants, chia seeds have proven to be beneficial for our heart health as well as for our overall immunity. However, apart from all that, it is also a good source from which one can acquire protein.

Also Read: How To Eat Chia Seeds | 5 Creative Ways

Protein based food items
Chia seeds are small black and white dots that are filled with protein and can easily be eaten alongside any other dish

6. Walnut

One walnut contains protein that is about one seventh of its own weight. It might not be much, but considering the other benefits of walnuts, it is sufficient to say that walnuts can also be added to your diet to make it more protein-rich.

7. Chicken Breast

Chicken breast is a popular protein rich food for non-vegetarians. You must eat it without skin for full benefits. It has a mouth watering and is very easy to cook.

8. Oats

Oats come in the list of healthiest grains on the planet. They are rich in thiamin (Vitamin B1), manganese, magnesium, healthy fibers and other nutrients. ½ cup of uncooked oats has 13 grams of protein along with 15% of calories.

9. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese has a low fat and calorie content than the other cheeses. It also contains riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus and calcium. 1 cup of cottage cheese has 27 grams of protein.

10. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a thick yogurt which is also known as strained yogurt. It has a delicious taste with a creamy texture. It is high in nutrients and has 17 grams of protein.

11. Tuna

Tuna is a type of fish and is full of proteins along with very low level of fat and calories. Tuna is not only rich in various nutrients, but it also has a good amount of omega-3 fats in it. A cup of tuna has 39 grams of protein.

Though there are other numbers of raw ingredients which can be considered as a rich source of protein, the items that are listed above are some of the popular ones.

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Protein Rich Recipes

These raw ingredients such are eggs, and paneer, can further be cooked alongside other spices and vegetables in order to create a dish that could be included in a protein rich diet. You have to bear in mind, that when consumed for a ‘healthy’ purpose, it is imperative that these dishes must not be cooked using too. Much oil or spices. Doing so could unnecessarily make the overall dish unhealthy, rather than beneficial to your system.

Everyday Protein-rich Dishes To Eat

1. Protein Rich Paneer Based Dishes

Dishes that heavily relies on paneer as its main ingredient are often found to be rich in protein content. Some examples paneer based protein rich dishes are paneer bhurji, and paneer makhani.

2. High Protein Soybean Based Dishes

As mentioned earlier, soybean has a higher concentration of protein that even surpasses the protein level in meat, so its really not a surprise that soybean based dishes can be quite a big supporter for your protein-rich diet. Some of the very famous soybean dishes that are majorly consumed in India include soybean as an alternative for meat such as soya kebabs, soya seekh, and of course, soya curry, in which it is cooked alongside other spices and herbs.

3. Rich In Protein Tofu Based Dishes

Just like Paneer, tofu is prepared by the coagulation of soy milk which separates the solid particles from the liquid. However, the liquid is later drained out, thus leaving behind a solid block of tofu. As a concentrated solid block of soy milk, tofu contains a higher concentration of protein as per volume, and it is also responsible for increasing a significant protein level of your meal, if added as an ingredient. Stir-fried tofu dishes are quite popular around the world. If you are wondering how to eat tofu and how to include it in your everyday dishes? Simply replace paneer in all your everyday dishes. A bhurji made with tofu (like the popular paneer bhurji or egg bhurji) or a stir-fry using ingredients like broccoli, onions, capsicum with tofu is a great option for a protein-rich, low carb dish.

4. High Protein Chicken Based Dishes

A 100g of chicken has about 27g of protein, which is roughly about 1/4th of its own weight. Meat based dishes are quite popular, especially chicken, which is one of the most in-demand non-vegetarian product that is available in the markets throughout the world. As one of the cheaper, and widely consumed sources of meat, there is a long list of recipes from all across the world that keep chicken at its center. Some of the most popular chicken based Indian dishes are butter chicken masala, and the other is quite popular south Indian dish called chicken chettinad. If you want to further make your chicken dishes healthy – try making flavourful chicken soups using lemon and coriander, stir-fry chicken and veggies is a great option, grilled chicken in a whole-wheat bread sandwich is a healthy alternative too. Remember, keep the quantity of oil low and variety of veggies up!

5. Protein RichFish Based Dishes

Apart from being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B2, fish also contains a significant amount of low-fat high quality protein, which contributes to it being the first choice to be included for a high protein diet. Most of the dishes that include the consumption of fish originate from the Bengal region in India such as Bengali doi mach (fish served with a curd based curry, and other dishes like fish pulao are also quite popular. Steamed fish is a perfect option for those looking for low-carb dinner options. Eating fish is great for your skin and hair too.

Protein based food items
Meat based dishes such as grilled chicken can be responsible for a high protein diet and also for satisfying your taste buds

6.Vegetarian High Protein Dishes

Just because meat based dishes are so popular among protein enthusiasts, it doesn’t mean that the gates of a protein diet are closed for those who are vegetarians! There is a huge catalogue of vegetables that can help you with your needs for a high protein diet. Some of these are easily available seasonal vegetables like broccoli, potato, cauliflower, and mushrooms.

Protein Rich Foods And Their Protein Content

Eggs 6 g
Almonds 28 g
Chicken breast 53 g
Oats 13 g
Cottage cheese 27 g
Greek yogurt 17 g
Milk 8 g
Broccoli 3 g
Tuna 39 g
Cooked quinoa 8 g
Whey 20-50 g
Lentils 18 g
Ezekiel bread 4 g
Pumpkin seeds 5 g
Salmon 46 %
Shrimp 18 g
Brussel sprouts 2 g
Peanuts 7 g

A study conducted by NCBI proves that why protein rich foods must be a part of your diet.

How Much Protein Is Enough In A Day?

The recommended dietary allowance(RDA) of protein is 0.8 g per kg of body weight. The protein intake should be limited in the body. The average protein intake for men is 56 g and for women, it is 46 g in a day for women.

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-protein-per-day

Benefits of Eating A Protein-rich Diet

As mentioned before, protein is much more than a macronutrient required for muscle growth. Protein plays an important role in making our DNA, as it is broken into amino acids by our body. Two strands of these amino acids bond with each other in order to form a DNA strand.

The intake of protein keeps our stomach filled for a longer time and prevents us from over-eating, thus aiding with weight loss.

Since protein is a building block for our tissues and cells, consuming a protein rich diet can also increase the rate of healing and replacing the damaged tissues with the new one.

Some Protein Rich Diets For Quick Weight Loss

  • Atkins diet
  • Zone diet
  • South beach diet
  • Protein powder diet
  • Sugar busters diet
  • Stillman diet

Side-Effects of Protein

Now that you know how to transform your diet into a high-protein diet, it is also important to have a regulated way of its consumption, as a higher concentration of protein intake can cause adverse effects to your health.

Some of the side-effects caused by the unregulated intake of protein are:

1. Can Cause Various Cardiovascular Disease

A higher consumption of protein has been linked to various cardiovascular diseases. This is due to the heavy consumption of meat based products and dairy products, all of which are rich with protein and constitute as an important part of the protein based diet.

2. Can Cause Damage To Our Kidneys

This is due to the fact that a higher dosage of protein can increase the level of nitrogen in our body, especially when it is broken down into amino acids. The kidneys are required to work hard in order to remove this excess nitrogen; hence it can produce stress over our kidney walls.

3. Can Also Result In Weight Gain

Protein is considered as an important part of a diet especially when one needs to shed some pounds. However, a higher intake of protein lead to gaining excess weight as it particularly slow down our body’s nutrient absorption rate. Thus, if you consume high calorie foods with your protein intake, you may not shed some pounds, but gain some.

The Bottom Line

Protein, being considered as one of the building blocks of life, is responsible for a diet that provides one with energy, growth, and of course, alertness. But, its intake must be managed with utmost care, as it can become an unfavourable nutrient if not regulated.

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