In addition to carbohydrates and fats, proteins are the third macronutrient that makes up food. Proteins are found in plant and animal foods and are essential for a healthy diet.
Proteins are made up of different amino acids, of which there are 21 in total. The human body cannot produce nine of these 21 amino acids itself and must therefore obtain them from the diet. They are therefore also referred to as essential amino acids. This article explains all the essential information about proteins and gives suggestions for meals.
Benefits of high protein diet
A diet is described as high-protein when at least 20 percent of the total energy comes from protein. A meal plan with a protein content of 20 percent or more has several positive effects: more prolonged satiety.
This is because proteins are digested more slowly than carbohydrates. In addition, protein stabilizes the blood sugar level since protein only results in a low insulin release. This prevents food cravings, which is particularly beneficial for weight loss.
In addition, protein exhibits the so-called thermal effect. This means that the body needs more energy to digest protein than fat and carbohydrates. This has a positive impact on calorie balance and can support weight loss. Out of 100 calories from protein, the body can only use 86 effectively because 24 calories are used for digestion and metabolism. A protein-rich diet is not only suitable for losing weight but also for building muscle.
In addition, the consumption of protein supports the immune system, as it is involved in many metabolic processes. Among other things, it improves the regeneration of the body and the formation of new cells. In addition, protein promotes the formation of testosterone, which is also found in the female organism and is necessary for muscle recovery after physical activity. A high-protein diet protects the muscles that the body could otherwise use for energy on a calorie-restricted diet.
Athletes and a high-protein diet
If not enough protein is ingested through food, the muscles cannot recover optimally from training. This slows down the increase in performance. Performance may even deteriorate if you eat too little protein. Athletes know that 70 percent of training success depends on the proper diet. They, therefore, attach particular importance to eating a protein-rich diet.
The body can only use 53 percent of the protein from tofu, for example, but 92 percent of the protein from tuna and 81 percent from cottage cheese. In particular, people who eat a vegan diet must ensure that they consume sufficient protein.
It would be ideal for all people to eat different protein sources at every meal, as these complement each other. The combination of vegetable and animal proteins results in a perfect composition of amino acids.
Foods with an exceptionally high protein content
All essential amino acids are only found in animal foods. However, the amino acid profile of a meal can be improved by combining different plant foods since different plants contain additional proteins. If these are eaten together, the missing proteins are supplemented by the other foods.
People who eat a conventional diet can quickly meet their daily protein requirements with lean meat such as chicken breast fillet, beef, or pork. Fish such as salmon, pollock, or cod also make an excellent contribution to the body’s protein supply.
More tips for a high-protein diet
In general, it is recommended that you maintain health and performance and consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For people who do a lot of sport or do heavy physical work, the intake can be increased to 1.2 to a maximum of 2.2 grams. However, these amounts are only suitable for people who do not have kidney disease. Pregnant women also benefit from eating a little more protein than usual.
As previously mentioned, it is an ideal vegetable and animal protein combined. You should avoid heavily processed and high-fat foods such as sausage and eat protein together with complex carbohydrates.
If you eat a lot of protein, you should also make sure you drink enough. This supports the kidneys in cleansing the blood and helps to excrete excess protein.
Ideas for the different meals
Protein-rich foods can be easily integrated into the diet at any time of the day. A protein smoothie is a great breakfast. If you prefer to eat muesli, you can use oatmeal with low-fat quark and fruit to replace sugary cereals. For lunch, a fried chicken breast fillet on colorful vegetables is a protein-rich and easily digestible idea that can be prepared well in advance and taken to work.
Make an omelet with feta and whole wheat bread for a quick, protein-rich dinner. As a spread, hummus is recommended instead of spread fat, as it contains plenty of protein but little fat. Alternatively, space from beans can also be easily prepared at home. You can end the dinner with a delicious dessert Because even sweets can be healthy. This is proven by the many creative ideas for protein-rich desserts found online.
As a snack, you can have one or two boiled eggs, dried meat, almonds, or peanuts, all of which also provide valuable amino acids. After training, a homemade protein shake is ideal, which can be quickly mixed with milk, low-fat quark, oatmeal, banana, protein powder, and berries.
A diet rich in protein supports health and is therefore essential for everyone. Since there are many protein-containing foods, they can supplement any form of nutrition without much effort. This improves general well-being and athletic success and the result of a diet.