A healthy lifestyle leads to many benefits that include better sleep and even a youthful appearance even in your sixties. Part of a healthy lifestyle means changing what you eat. Some of the foods you eat could make you sick. Other foods you eat can help you make sure you have the proper nutrients.
Experts across the world agree that having protein in your diet is essential to a healthy life. Your hair, muscles, and nails are made of protein. And eating more protein is also good for fat loss.
Protein is a high thermic food, meaning that the caloric cost to digest it is high. Protein can also reduce your appetite. But even if you just want to maintain your weight, some high protein foods should be regular additions to your diet.
Adding high protein foods can help improve your long-term health. Here are eight high protein foods that will improve your health.
#1 – Eggs
Eggs are probably one of the most accessible sources of protein. A typical egg contains about 6-7 grams of protein.
There are so many different ways to cook eggs. Cooked eggs are easier to digest than raw eggs. One study found that protein absorption in cooked eggs was around 91%, while in raw eggs it was only about 51%.
No matter how you cook your eggs, however, you will get your protein. But the longer you cook them, the more you risk losing valuable nutrients in eggs.
Boiled and poached eggs are considered the best. If you combine your eggs with vegetables, you can have one healthy meal.
Don’t be fooled by egg whites, though! Egg whites are fantastic sources of protein, but there’s not much more to them. If you want to add more nutrients to have an overall healthy diet, you will need to eat the whole egg.
#2 – Chicken Breast
You might think beef would be the better choice, but chicken breast is the meat with the most protein. A 3.5-ounce of cooked chicken breast meat has about 31 grams of protein in it.
This is one of the most common food choices for people trying to lose weight. It’s low in calories and fats, but it’s high in protein. Chicken breast is the leanest part of the bird.
However, to get the full nutritional value, you need to take off the skin. Otherwise, the meat won’t be lean, and you’ll add unnecessary calories to your meal.
Like eggs, chicken breasts can be cooked in a variety of ways. The best way to prepare it is to grill it. That way, you’re not adding extra calories to the chicken with extra breading or fat.
#3 – Tuna Fish
This food is considered almost pure protein. Not only is it a good source of protein, but it’s a good source of Omega-3s too. There are so many good things inside tuna fish; it’s hard to imagine why a high protein diet wouldn’t have tuna fish in it.
Most tuna fish comes canned in oil or water, and that can affect the calorie count. But, whether it’s canned or fresh tuna, you’re still getting your protein in.
However, tuna fish does have traces of mercury in it. So if you’re a pregnant woman, it is recommended that you shouldn’t eat tuna more than 1 serving or 4 ounces a month.
#4 – Lean Beef
Beef, in general, is a great source of protein. Lean beef is one of the best sources of protein you can find. The USDA defines lean beef as 3.5 ounces of beef that contains less than 10 grams of fat; less than 4.5 grams of saturated fat; and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol.
When looking for cuts of beef, you want to look for anything with the “Choice” or “Select” labels, since those cuts of meat are leaner than their “Prime” counterparts. Many beef cuts are already lean, but some of them are leaner than others.
When you cook your beef, make sure you cut off any extra fat so you can keep your protein count high. In fact, some experts recommend you keep it as a side dish and enjoy other high protein foods with your meal.
#5 – Firm Tofu
If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can get protein from firm tofu. Even if you do eat meat, tofu has enough protein to help get you the protein you need for the day. Not only does tofu have a high protein count, but it has low calories and low fats. It’s nutritious for carnivores and herbivores alike!
Tofu, like eggs, is a versatile food. The more firm the tofu is, the more nutrients it has. People with special diets should eat tofu because of the nutrients it has. If you follow a dairy- or gluten-free diet, tofu is a great addition to your diet.
Tofu has a lot of health benefits. For example, it’s a great food to have if you’re watching your heart health, and it also helps with preventing osteoporosis. Once you get past the texture, you can add tofu to anything and have a great meal.
A lot of people have an aversion to tofu because of its spongy texture. But when you find the way you like it cooked, you may end up asking yourself why you never considered tofu in the first place.
One of the more popular ways to make tofu is called tofu scramble which tastes just like scrambled eggs.
#6 – Lentils
Lentils are another abundant plant-based, meat-free protein for vegetarians and vegans. Not only are they a great source of protein, but they’re also a great source of iron. Iron is often missing in a lot of vegetarian diets.
There is a wide variety of lentils that are used for all different kinds of food, too. For example, people use black lentils for salads and put brown lentils in stews. Yellow and red lentils are sweeter and often used to make dal. Red, brown, and green lentils can make a lentil soup.
Really it comes down to what the cook prefers.
Lentils have such a variety of nutrients they often go overlooked with what they provide. They’re very filling, so many people trying to lose weight consume more lentils in order to get there faster.
#7 – Low-fat Yogurt
Yogurt has been around for thousands of years. It’s one of the best-known fermented dairy products in the world. All someone has to do is add bacteria to milk. It’s a fantastic source of protein as well.
Because it’s a dairy product, yogurt is a great source of calcium, too. Studies show it’s great for bone health as well as gut health, and yogurt is also good at leveling blood pressure.
If you’re lactose intolerant, don’t worry. While you need to be careful on how much lactose you take, lactose-intolerant people can tolerate yogurt better than many other dairy products.
Some of the lactose gets broken down into glucose and galactose in production. A lack of lactose makes it easier for a lactose-intolerant person to digest.
However, you want to make sure you read the label before buying the yogurt. Sometimes low-fat yogurts contain a lot of added sugar which can cancel the health benefits of the yogurt.
#8 – Grated Parmesan Cheese
This parmesan cheese is not the same kind you find in a shaker at the grocery store. This is real, grated parmesan cheese.
This cheese is rich in protein and has very little to no lactose. So, the lactose intolerant can enjoy it too. It’s easy to digest and high in calcium, suggesting it’s beneficial for bone health.
Grated parmesan cheese is one of the few dairy products that has very little to no lactose because the lactose turns into lactic acid when the cheese is made and aged.
Whatever lactose remains after the wheel of cheese is made is very little or nonexistent by the time the cheese is aged. It’s also considered a safe cheese for a pregnant woman to eat.
To get the real benefits out of it, you can sprinkle it onto pasta or your favorite vegetables to give them a flavor boost. Sprinkle it on eggs, too, for an extra unique flavor and an even more significant protein boost.
Protein Boosting Foods are Easy to Add to Your Diet
You don’t have to eat only meat to get all your protein in a high protein diet. Some of the high protein foods include tofu and beans, so vegetarians and vegans can have an easier time getting in their proper nutrients for a healthier life.
With these different foods added to your diet, you will improve your health. And your wallet will thank you once you get your next insurance bill. The benefits of eating healthy extend even to your life insurance policy.
A healthier diet will build up to a healthier life. And a healthier, more robust life means fewer doctor visits and fewer diseases to catch potentially.
All of these foods offer other nutritional values, such as higher calcium. If you add these foods with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, you will see an improvement in your long-term health.
Bio: Sasha Lizaveta is a fitness enthusiast and the editor of BadassBodyProject.com, a website dedicated to helping people lose fat, build muscle, and get the best version of themselves in the smartest way possible.