10 Alternative Protein Sources that Aren't Meat
By Kevin DiDonato MS, CES--Level 1 Certified Precision Nutrition and Certified Personal Trainer
Protein, which is the basic building block of tissue, cells, and muscle in your body, are vital nutrients that you need in order to protect your health and the health of your cells.
Most people know that great protein sources come from fish, turkey, chicken, and grass-fed beef.
However, there are many other great sources of protein that you can include today, to increase your protein intake.
Let me explain…
Protein and Your Body
As previously mentioned, protein plays a very large role in tissue repair and growth.
In fact, in order to build strong, lean muscle tissue, you need to make sure you are getting enough protein, depending on your size and activity level.
Protein, which is a peptide chain of amino acids, is most commonly found in meat products.
However, you may also be able to get adequate protein from fruits and vegetables, which may also boost weight loss plus increase antioxidant status.
There are two types of proteins your body needs, and they are essential and nonessential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are amino acids that you need to obtain through your diet, since they are not synthesized by your body like nonessential amino acids are.
Meat is a complete protein source, which means it has the correct mix of essential and nonessential amino acids.
Most fruits and vegetables contain incomplete proteins, so they need to be combined with other food sources in order to provide the proteins necessary for tissue repair and growth.
Proteins are not only good for building lean muscle tissue, but they may also be an appetite suppressant, which could prevent you from overeating at your next meal.
Fruits and Vegetables Have Protein Too
There are many ways to include protein into your day.
You can have a protein supplement shake to boost your protein intake, or you can include smaller meals spread throughout the day, that include some kind of protein source.
However, there is one other way to include protein that you may not think about.
When people think of fruits and vegetables, what often springs to mind are low calories, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
But what about the protein?
Besides water, most of the foods that you eat include some level of protein – even fruits and vegetables.
However, the proteins found in fruits and vegetables often times are found to be incomplete, and need other food sources to supplement the protein they do not have.
Here are some FRUITS that contain protein (a one cup serving):
Dried Apricots 5.0 grams
Avocado 4.5 grams
Cherries 3.0 grams
Bananas 2.5 grams
Coconuts 2.0 grams
Fruits also contain plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and water that are important for optimal health and hydration.
Plus, fruit contains plenty of fiber, which has been linked to reduced cholesterol levels, decreased appetite, and a reduced risk for heart disease and some cancers.
Here are some VEGETABLES that contain protein (a one cup serving):
Spinach 5.0 grams
Asparagus 4.2 grams
Cauliflower 3.8 grams
Broccoli 2.4 grams
Celery 1.5 grams
Vegetable protein is both low in calories and fat, which could be great for people watching their calorie intake in order to lose weight.
Plus, they are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, for a complete all-around food source that could improve your health.
The Other Ways to Include Protein
Most people already know that grass-fed red meat, chicken, fish, and turkey are all great sources of lean protein.
However, if you are looking for alternative foods that contain healthy doses of protein, then look no further than your fruit and vegetable section.
Fruits and vegetables are not only packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but they can also be a low-calorie protein source, perfect for building lean, sexy muscle, without packing on the calories.
This could boost fat loss, speed up your metabolism, and sculpt your abs, butt, and thighs in no time at all so you will be beach-body ready by next year!