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Ever wondered why some people are always active, have a great increase in muscle mass, a positive surge in growth patterns and possess healthy hair and fingernails? I know what you are thinking, of course, you are right. It is all in the power-packed nutrient called protein. Proteins can be obtained from consuming proteinous foods.

The word protein was coined from a Greek word called proteus which means ‘Primary’ or ‘ first place’. Proteins are sometimes called the workforces of life, as they perform a vast array of functions.

Protein is an essential part of our diet. It is responsible for generating hormones, enzymes, and other body chemicals. 

Eating proteinous foods helps renew energy, transport oxygen and maintain the muscles and bones.

Research has shown that 10-30% of protein is in children, 16.3% in men, and 15.8% in women. Protein in this right proportion is enough to keep the body fit throughout the day.

Care to find out more about the power of protein? Alright then! Let’s Go.

Table of Contents

What Are Proteinous Foods?

Proteinous foods are foods that are rich in proteins. They contain a high proportion of protein that is essential to the body.

Proteins are macronutrients that supply and renew the body’s energy, transport oxygen, and maintain muscle and bones. 

Some examples of these proteinous foods include eggs, beans, green leafy vegetables, fish, cereals, meat, e.t.c.

Sources Of Protein

Proteinous foods contain a moderate amount of protein. However, some of these foods are into two major categories. 

Let us look at some sources of this unique nutrient. Remember we gave some examples of proteinous foods.

I. Plant Source

This consist of protein obtained directly from plants. They include:

a. Legumes, like beans, peas, or lentils

b. Seeds and Grains

c. Nuts

II. Animal Source

These are high-quality sources of protein and are obtained majorly from animals. They include:

a. Poultry

b. Fish

c. Eggs

d. Diary products

e. Tofu

f. Slices of beef and Pork

Types Of Proteins

There are seven (7) different types of protein under which all proteins fall. Let us discuss them, shall we?

1. Antibodies

These are specialised cells that defend the body against antigens and other disease-causing organisms. 

Using the bloodstream as a means of transportation, they are utilized by the immune system and used to identify and eliminate bacteria and viruses in the blood.

One method antibodies use in removing these threats is by immobilizing them, allowing further actions by the white blood cells.

2. Enzymes

They are the biological catalyst that speeds up the rate of chemical reactions in the body. 

They are responsible for aiding digestion, respiration, muscle and nerve coordination, and many other roles.

Also Read: 10 SIMPLE WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT WITH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Most proteinous foods supply a large number of enzymes to the body, which it breaks down and stores in minute quantities.

3. Structural Proteins

These sets of proteins are responsible for maintaining the mainframe or in other words, the body’s structure.

One example of a structural protein is collagen, found in bones and cells. 

Collagen helps by giving the cell an internal form.

4. Storage Proteins

They are responsible for reserving amino acids obtained from proteinous foods.

An example of a storage protein is ferritin which stores iron.

5. Transport Proteins

Transport proteins are carrier proteins responsible for the movement of a substance, from one place to another in the body.

Haemoglobin acts as an oxygen carrier in the blood, transporting oxygen to every body part.

Research shows that most proteinous foods contain a moderate amount of iron, which increases the production of haemoglobin.

6. Contractile Proteins

They are responsible for the contraction, movements, and expansion of muscles.

Minerals like magnesium and potassium help in the contraction and relaxation of muscles. 70% of most proteinous foods contain these nutrients.

7. Hormonal Proteins

They help coordinate certain functions of the body. 

These parts of proteins help stimulate growth, reduce stress, and develop the organs and their characteristics.

Some Proteinous Foods And Their Health Benefits

proteinous-foods-and-their-health-benefits

Earlier, we mentioned some examples of proteinous foods. Let us discuss them more. I will be listing 15 top proteinous foods and their health benefits. Tag along!

1. Eggs

Many of us are not fans of this meal, but funny enough it contributes a lot to maintaining health. 

Eggs are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fats, and antioxidants. 

Whole eggs are rich in choline, an important nutrient for pregnant and lactating mothers.

Eggs are incredibly healthy and are known to prevent chronic diseases.

2. Cottage Cheese

Unlike other cheeses high in fats, cottage cheeses are low in fats and calories yet high in protein.

Cottage cheese is rich in riboflavin, selenium, calcium, phosphorus, and much more.

Research shows that cottage cheese can be used as fillings or substitutes, and when applied to a breakfast schedule, gives you a high protein on the go. 

Cottage cheese helps keep the bones and teeth strong and also helps prevent osteoporosis.

3. Chicken Breast

Are you thinking of foods rich in protein? Chicken breast is also one of them. It provides a variety of B vitamins and is rich in zinc and selenium.

It tastes excellent and is very easy to cook. When served together with other dishes, it can make the meal more attractive and pleasant.

4. Seafood

Seafood is another source of protein, which is low in fat but contains a moderate amount of lipids. 

Fish like salmon and herrings contain omega-3 fats, which reduces the risk of disorders and inflammations.

People who include proteinous foods like fish and other seafood in their diets, lower the risk of contracting heart diseases and diabetes.

5. Soya

Are you lactose intolerant? Soya can help you recover from your lactose intolerance.

Soy protein foods contain 60-70% of the total soya protein. 

Proteinous foods rich in soya, like fortified tofu and soybeans, help lower cholesterol and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

6. Nuts and Seeds

They are rich in fibre, vitamins, manganese, and magnesium. Nuts like almonds, cashews, and pistachios are good sources of plant protein. 

Almonds lower heart disease risk factors and blood pressure.

50 pistachios nuts, when served, contain 6 grams of protein and can be served as a quick breakfast or snack.

7. Yoghurt

Yoghurts are extremely healthy and contain both casein and whey protein.

A particular type of yoghurt called Greek yoghurt is a thick type of yoghurt that is high in protein. It contains nutrients like calcium, selenium, zinc, and vitamins. 

Greek yoghurt has a tart flavour, which pairs well with sweet and savoury dishes.

When buying greek yoghurts, ensure you opt for products that have no sugar.

8. Lentils

Lentils are the type of legumes that are high in fibre, magnesium, potassium and other nutrients in minute quantities.

They are an excellent choice for a vegetarian or vegan diet. 

Research has shown that lentils and other legumes lower heart diseases and other fatty liver diseases.

Did you know that 100grams of well-cooked lentils provide 9.02 grams of protein?

9. Lean Beef

Proteinous foods like lean beef are rich in zinc, selenium, and vitamins B12 and B6. 

Beef and red meats can be very healthy meals, but it is advisable to moderate your intake.  

Consuming relatively high amounts of red meat exposes you to the risk of developing several heart conditions like colorectal cancer.

Studies have shown that a 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides the body with 24.6 grams of protein.

10. Milk

Milk is essential because it contains every nutrient your body needs. It is a good source of protein and is considered one of the best.

Considering proteinous foods like milk, apart from serving a specific amount of protein, this dairy product is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium and riboflavin.

People who are lactose intolerant, are advised to avoid consuming dairy products, but cashew milk and coconut milk are better substitutes for milk in most cases. 

A cup of dairy milk provides 8.32 grams of protein.

11. Quinoa

This is a seed, not a grain, rich in fibre, folate, iron and zinc. It contains all nine of the essential amino acids, although insufficient in lysine. 

Studies say it was considered a complete protein, but due to the lack of lysine it was termed a ‘’ near complete’’ protein.

If you are a vegetarian or on a vegan diet and looking to get all nine essential amino acids, then proteinous foods like Quinoa are the right meal for you.

Also Read: Five Foods To Avoid Once You Clock 20 Years [And Five To Adopt]

Regardless, quinoa is a good source of protein and can be used in dishes like soups and porridge.

Also, note that a cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein.

12. Ezekiel Bread

Most of us are new to this type of bread, it is nutritious and different from other bread. 

Ezekiel bread is obtained from organic whole grains and legumes, which include barley, soybeans and lentils. 

Unlike other bread, Ezekiel bread is rich in protein, fibre and other nutrients in minute quantities. 

One slice (60 grams) of Ezekiel bread provides 6 grams of protein.

13. Peanut and Peanut Butters

Funny enough, at times we do take peanuts as nuts, they are legumes. 

Peanuts and peanut butter are rich in vitamin E, magnesium, and folate.

Sometimes eating peanut butter makes you feel full due to its high protein content.

Applying it to your meal helps maintain blood sugar after eating.

Here is a tip:

1 ounce (28.35 gram) serving of peanuts provides 7.31 grams of protein.

14. Protein Powders

Protein powders are powdered forms of protein obtained from plants, eggs, or milk.

Other ingredients like artificial flavours, sugar, thickeners and minerals may be added.

Protein powders can be added to shakes, energy drinks, yoghurts, and others to increase the protein factor.

Every type of protein powder has its unique taste preference and dietary restriction.

Pea protein and whey protein are both excellent choices to increase protein intake.

15. Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are delicious in a unique way and highly nutritious. Proteinous foods like pumpkin seeds contain minerals like iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.

Pumpkin seeds are plant-based proteins and are high in fibre.

They can be added to salads, baked foods, oatmeal or yoghurts for a convenient snack.

Pumpkin seeds are responsible for the healing of wounds and fighting off bacteria and viruses.

A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds supplies 8.8 grams of protein to the body.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Insufficient protein in your diet can lead to serious health issues. Excessive intake of Proteinous foods may lead to the accumulation of fats.
Here is a breakdown of the amount of protein needed in the body;
1. 4 years and below: 13 grams
2. Ages 4-8: 19 grams 
3. Ages 9-13: 34 grams 
4. Women and Girls, ages 14 and over: 46 grams 
5. Boys, ages 14-18: 52 grams 
6. Men, ages 18 and over: 56 grams

Can I Get Fats From Consuming Proteinous Foods?

Yes! One can accumulate fats from consuming proteinous foods. Your body has its capacity and can only process a particular amount of protein within regular time intervals. Feeding the body more protein forces the body into converting excess amino acids to fats. Always consume the right amount of protein and try to work out, thereby reducing calories. Too many calories in the body result in the accumulation of excess fats. 

Does a High Intake Of Proteinous Foods affect health?

It is advisable to consume a proteinous diet to keep the body active. However, massive consumption can cause fatigue, dizziness, headaches, bad breath, and constipation. Ensure you are not just focusing on a protein diet, as this can keep you from getting all the nutrients you need and expose you to unhealthy side effects.

Why Should I Care About Getting Enough Protein?

A protein deficiency can lead to several health issues. Some of these may include; High rate of infections and illness, reduced muscle mass, goitre, and swellings in the legs, slower healing of wounds, e.t.c.  However, consuming proteinous foods has benefits like; Fast recovery after physical activities, reducing muscle loss, maintaining cell shape, curbing hunger, and maintaining a healthy weight.

The Bottom Line

Acquiring enough protein daily is essential for our health. The level of protein varies in every human.

However, it is recommended people consume 0.6 to 0.9 grams of protein per day.

There are a wide variety of proteinous foods to choose from, including animal and plant-based sources.

A little touch of these healthy meals supplies the body with the right amount of protein it requires. You can try adding some beans and a boiled egg to your salads.

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