Protein plays a vital role in muscle growth and health, so it’s essential to eat enough of the right kinds of protein foods to optimize your health. But when you’re trying to figure out which protein foods are best for building muscles or improving overall body health, things can get confusing quickly.
Everyone who works out regularly knows the importance of protein, which helps build and repair muscle tissue. But not all protein foods are created equal (in composition); some contain better or lesser amounts of branched-chain amino acids (B.C.A.A.s) than others.
Here’s an overview of some common types of protein that might help you decide which one works best for you!
Role of proteins for muscle health
Muscle proteins are composed of amino acids, and we must eat them to ensure our bodies function correctly. However, protein foods have become synonymous with muscle-building foods.
While consuming high-protein foods may help you achieve your muscle-building goals, proteins can also play a role in preventing disease and overall good health.
Consuming protein after your workout will speed up your recovery time and allow you to build muscle faster.
One of the essential roles proteins play in your body is building muscle mass. To build muscle after exercise, you need all nine essential amino acids from protein sources—eggs, meat, dairy products, and soy products.
If one or more of these essential amino acids is missing from your diet, it becomes difficult for your body to build new muscle tissue after exercise sessions.
Additionally, proteins provide an excellent energy source if you’re exercising regularly; about half of what you burn during physical activity comes from proteins alone.
Vegetarian sources of protein
Vegetarian protein sources include pistachio, almonds and peanuts, paneer, tofu, soy, peanut butter, and quinoa.
Vegans can also opt for nuts and beans. There are also vegan alternatives available to most animal-based protein sources, such as dairy, so don’t be afraid to check out these options if you’re a vegetarian or vegan trying to increase your protein intake!
Athletes looking to build muscle often struggle with eating enough calories, let alone protein. When protein from food isn’t an option, protein powders and shakes can be helpful supplements. Make sure to only use these supplements in addition to whole food protein sources. If taken on their own, protein powders won’t give your body everything it needs to maintain lean muscle mass.
#1 Whey protein:
It is a protein found naturally in milk that has been isolated into powder form for convenience. It comes in two forms: concentrated and isolated. 1 scoop of whey protein (approx 30 grams of whey protein) gets you around 24 grams of protein and 100 calories.
Almonds are an excellent protein source that helps build muscles and maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails. A fistful of whole almonds (approx. 25 gms) contains 5 grams of protein and about 150 calories, so go ahead and snack on them as you would other nuts!
Also, check out: What to eat before & after a workout
50 gms of cooked soybeans will provide approx 18 gms of protein and approx 190 calories which will boost muscle strength and provide the essential amino acids that the body requires.
1 bowl of quinoa (i.e. 120 gms) will get you almost 16 grams of protein per serving, making it an excellent option for vegetarians looking to boost their protein intake. This food is highly versatile; you can use it in place of pasta or rice in your favorite recipes for a bit of variety and extra nutrients.
There are approx 19 grams of protein in 100 gm of paneer (about 250 calories). You can eat it plain or can be consumed with the breakfast recipes, or add flavor with cinnamon or cocoa powder.
#6 Peanut Butter:
Peanut butter isn’t just delicious but also contains healthy fats and a good amount of protein that promotes good health. It also contains essential nutrients such as zinc and phosphorous that help in muscle contraction. When spread on toast just two tablespoons packs 7-8 grams of protein.
Also, check this healthy plus delicious high protein pulao recipe.
Non-Vegetarian sources of protein: To build more muscle
Animal proteins such as eggs, dairy, poultry, fish, and red meat are beneficial for muscle building. To build muscles, it’s essential to have a variety of protein sources in your diet and eat them at every meal.
Most non-vegetarian sources are considered complete proteins because they contain all of the essential amino acids that our bodies can’t produce on their own.
Also, check out: Build muscle, not fat
You can also maximize protein consumption by opting for high protein foods with low calories—fish and chicken breast both clock in under 100 calories per serving but deliver upwards of 15 grams of protein each.
A complete protein will provide you with a steady source of energy to keep you feeling full longer, which means you’ll be less likely to go hunting for snacks when your blood sugar levels drop later in the day.
1. Skinless Chicken:
Because Chicken is so versatile, it’s easy to incorporate into a healthy diet plan that’s low in saturated fats; without skin. Chicken breast (skinless) gives approx 22 gms of protein.
Whitefish like cod, haddock, flounder, and halibut are good non-meat protein options because they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass—a 100-gram serving of cooked salmon or Atlantic fish gives you around 21 grams of protein.
Most people know eggs are an excellent protein source (each egg contains approximately 6.6 grams).
When looking at which protein is best, it’s essential to consider that not all proteins are created equal. Some help muscles grow, while others hinder progress and can even cause damage.
To get maximum results from your workouts, you want to choose foods that help build muscle and reduce recovery time. So when your next activity rolls around, think about what kind of protein will give you those gains—and how much time you can save in between now and then!
What you eat matters. Find millions of items from the food database on The Wellness Corner app and let the AI-enabled platform give you instant insights on your macronutrient breakdown and calories. Log your meals, save them if the intake is regular, analyze the findings and alter your ideal diet accordingly.