High Quality Protein

High quality protein

A perfectly balanced and effective diet must include protein. Proteins are made of amino acids that are often called building blocks. This is because protein is located in every cell of the human body. Protein also creates and repairs cells. That’s why it is essential for children, teenagers, and pregnant women who need amino acids to support the growth and development of body functions.

Many people drink whey protein because proteins help repair and build new and existing muscles – that’s exactly what your body needs after an intense workout. The amount of protein intake you need to gain muscle depends on your height, weight, age, and the amount of exercise you do. The easiest and quickest way to calculate your daily protein intake is to use a body weight planner.

Why Protein Is an Essential Part of a Healthy Diet

A protein-rich diet promotes healing and recovery after illnesses. Additionally, protein gives you energy for the day, boosts your mood, and helps your brain function properly.

In order to receive those benefits, you need to have a nutritious diet. When foods rich in protein are broken down, amino acids are left behind. It is important to mention that your body does not store amino acids for later. If you want to build muscle mass, you should consume all essential amino acids in one meal. Otherwise, your body will simply use incomplete amino acids for energy.

What Happens When You Don’t Eat Enough Protein?

If you follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, you might suffer from protein deficiency. This means your muscles get smaller, not enough oxygen reaches the cells which results in anemia, and you can develop edema, which is when your feet and ankles retain excess fluids. Thus, if you are experiencing any of this – it is high time to improve your nutrition.

Difference Between High and Low Protein Sources

Protein quality is determined by the number of amino acids it has. High-quality protein is considered to have a combination of all essential amino acids. There are more than 20 amino acids that are important for your body and metabolism. However, 11 of them are nonessential, and only 9 of them are considered essential. And the rest are conditionally essential and important only in the case of certain illnesses.

Nonessential amino acids are the ones you don’t have to include in your diet. This is because your body already produces them naturally. In contrast, essential amino acids are the ones your body does not synthesize.

An example of high-quality protein is an egg, while peanut butter is a low-quality protein because its protein sources are incomplete.

Benefits of High-Quality Protein

A balanced diet rich in protein has a lot of benefits for your health and brain. Not only does it restore your muscles and support your immune system, but it also improves memory and mental clarity. That’s why it is crucial to consume foods that have all 9 essential amino acids, also called complete proteins.

Essential Amino Acids

Let’s break complete proteins down into chunks of 9 essential amino acids:

  • Histidine – It is responsible for repairing tissues, building hemoglobin, and supporting the immune system by producing white and red blood cells. With the help of histidine, our body creates myelin sheaths, which cover and protect our nerve cells.
  • Isoleucine – This amino acid also repairs tissues; moreover, it supports blood clotting at the wound. Isoleucine improves energy levels and speeds muscle recovery after an intense workout.
  • Valine – It is popular among athletes because valine improves muscle health and prevents them from tearing. There are other no less significant benefits such as reduced stress, appetite control, and improved sleep.
  • Threonine – Your digestive system can be greatly improved by consuming the right amount of threonine. When threonine reaches the small intestine, it is absorbed to create a protective mucus. This amino acid acts as a shield that maintains healthy gut functioning.
  • Leucine – This amino acid helps with energy levels during moments of anxiety and stress. When you exercise, leucine can help you lose visceral fat instead of losing muscle mass.
  • Lysine – This amino acid is also involved in developing antibodies that protect from illnesses. Lysine is one of the amino acids that build collagen in our body to maintain healthy skin, nails, and hair.
  • Tryptophan – Our body converts this amino acid into serotonin which, in return, suppresses appetite and improves mood.
  • Methionine – Known to improve skin, hair, and nails, methionine protects cells from toxic substances and improves metabolism.
  • Phenylalanine – It acts as a building block for other amino acids.

As you can see, it is vital to include all essential amino acids in your diet. They are especially crucial for people who wish to gain muscle mass. And in order to achieve great results, there are certain foods that contain all or most of the essential amino acids. High-quality protein is present in meat and also in plants.

Animal-Based Proteins

Animal proteins are found in the following products:

  • Meat: beef, lamb, pork
  • Seafood: fish, lobster, oysters
  • Poultry: chicken, turkey, duck
  • Eggs
  • Dairy: Greek yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, and other dairy products

Animal-based products are considered a source of complete protein because they contain all 9 essential amino acids. Moreover, they provide high-quality protein in a large amount. That’s why you don’t have to eat 5 chicken breasts or a beefsteak at every meal. One serving is enough for you to receive enough healthy protein.

It is advised to eat lean protein, like fish or poultry, because overconsumption of red meat, like beef and pork, might lead to heart disease.

Some of the best ways of cooking meat and fish are boiling and steaming, not frying, which adds extra calories that you want to avoid if your goal is to lose weight. You can also prepare up to 5 small-quantity meals per day.

To create a perfect combination of high-quality protein meals, you should also consider plant protein sources.

Plant-Based Proteins

Most plant-based foods lack one or more essential amino acids, making them incomplete protein sources. That’s why people who are on a strict vegetarian or vegan diet can suffer from protein deficiency. Plant proteins are present in large amounts in:

  • Nuts and seeds – Almonds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and others are excellent sources of high-quality protein. Not only are they easy to include in breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but they are also extremely delicious, nutritious, and healthy.
  • Legumes – Lentils, beans, and chickpeas have high protein quantities making them filling as well as delicious.
  • Vegetables and fruit – Most of them have a low amount of protein compared to other plant-based foods. Higher protein concentration is present in broccoli, corn, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
  • Soya beans – Tofu, soy milk, soy flour, and others are complete protein foods. Generally, soy products are very nutritious, full of antioxidants, and yield many health benefits.
  • Grains – Oats, quinoa, buckwheat, wild rice, and others can be a perfect source of high protein quality. Some grains, like quinoa, are complete protein foods.

If you are planning to consume only plant-based foods, remember to double your portions so your body will receive enough protein to function properly.

Create a Balanced High-Quality Protein Diet

Whether you prefer plant or animal proteins, you need to consider how much and what food you should consume. In case you prefer a solely plant-based diet, remember to increase your daily healthy protein intake because most of the plant-based products lack some amino acids. And it is always recommended to combine animal-based products with plant ones for a better and healthier diet.

Feel free to send us a message to receive a free consultation about how much protein you need to add to your diet to achieve your desired shape.


Protein is an important part of your diet. Your daily protein intake should be around 10-35% of your total calorie intake. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, it is necessary to eat 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 75 kg (160 pounds), you should consume 60 grams of protein a day. Keep in mind that getting too little protein has adverse effects on your health, while getting too much protein in your diet can lead to kidney stones and heart disease.

Even though protein should always be a part of your meals, pay attention to other food properties like fat and sugar amount. And choose a healthier way of preparing your meals, for example, boiling or steaming. It is recommended to eat plant-based protein foods (lentils, cashews, quinoa, rice) combined with animal-based protein foods (chicken, eggs, shrimp) to have a balanced and healthy diet.

Your body benefits a lot from eating the right amount of protein. High-quality protein promotes healthy skin, hair, and skin, boosts your energy levels, and improves metabolism. It also reduces potential health illnesses. So, plan your meals carefully.

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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