When most people think of how to gain muscle, one of the first things they think of PROTEIN. They can have little to no experience with the art or bodybuilding, but that seems to be a general understanding that most people know that you'd need to lose the unwanted fat, & pack on the muscles. However, when we're tackling this issue of protein, it's equally important to determine if you're the type of person that's only won't to have a natural protein diet, or wouldn't mind pairing the protein that you'd get from meats and grains with the supplemental shakes as well. You are able to go to virtually any gym and see either what seems to be a market or protein packets or someone in the locker room preparing their shake after hard hour long pump. No matter what your desire is about what you'd prefer, everyone should now the health benefits of certain foods to maximize your workout, & skyrocket your protein levels. Here are 5 foods that we've hand picked as protein powerhouses!
Chicken is an amazing source or protein because not only is it lean and fills you up, but it also has necessary amino acid in them that provides you with even more health benefits. According to the National Chicken Council, in each 100 grams (3.5 oz) of cooked skinless, boneless chicken breast, you will find 31 grams of protein – more than half of the daily recommended amount! Chicken provides all 9 of the essential amino acid which makes it a "super protein". Now I know what some of you may be thinking, "well I'm just going to eat fried chicken breast everyday and I'm going to be fine", WRONG! Yes chicken is a phenomenal source of protein, but we can't ignore the blatant fact that the oils & trans fats that the chicken is cooked in isn't good for you at all. Just think about it, what's the purpose of adding protein to your diet if it's going to be knocked down by clogged arteries, & other health complications. Sticking with baked and grilled chicken, with light seasonings that are low in sodium is the best way to go.
"So what exactly is Greek yogurt? I've heard it more in recent years, but what makes this particular yogurt so different, and what's the fad?"
First let's start by saying that it's not a fad, but the exposure of how amazing this yogurt is has been brought to the surface. According to Healthline.com, "Greek yogurt makers add an extra step to their process so that excess water, lactose, and minerals drain out. What’s left is a creamy, rich yogurt with less sugar, more carbs, and a tart taste. The acidity also makes it easier for your body to absorb other nutrients." On average, one of these Greek yogurt container can hold roughly 12-17.3 grams of protein in a single serving. Naturally, your body uses protein to build healthy bones, muscles, hair, cartilage, skin, & blood, but yogurt has a much higher protein count, & Greek yogurt consequently is higher than that. So the next time you snarl over at the young lady in the supermarket that's buying a case of Greek yogurt because you think it's a fad, maybe you'll grab one yourself & get on the healthy train.
"Black or pinto beans?", the worker asks at your local burrito shop. These question could feel like a life or death situation when the long line of hungry lunch breaker pierce the back of your head to move question. Maybe understanding the health benefits and his protein levels of black beans might sway your decision to the darker side of the bean scale. For one cup of black beans, there are 39 grams of protein which is not only an amazing meat substitute for protein within the vegetarian and vegan community, but having this extra form protein is great because it also has a very high amount of potassium as well. If you're going to purchase canned black beans, but sure to get the one with no/low sodium, so you won't be counter production with your efforts. So let's ask this question again, "black or pinto beans?"
Now am I the only one that would walk into the kitchen, grab the largest tablespoon I could find, & get a nice glob of peanut butter & eat that plain? Maybe I am, but it's was & still is one of my favorite health snacks. Understanding that 2 tablespoons of peanut butter has 8 grams of protein & 188 calories is definitely beneficial when it comes to building muscles, but many people don't realize how rich peanut butter is in potassium. Potassium is a great way to counteract the effects of sodium which is something that most people in modern society consumes much more than needed.
Also, did you know that peanut butter can also contribute to the process of weight loss? BauerNutrition.com say, "Peanut butter also contains an amazing substance called piceatannol. When nutritionists studied the effects of piceatannol, they were surprised to find that it appears to help the body prevent immature fat cells from developing into mature ones. So peanut butter may actually be one of your best allies for fat loss – assuming it’s the all-natural variety!" With this knowledge, we aren't saying to go eat an entire jar of peanut butter, but with everything, live in moderation.
So I have to paint a picture for you. Before writing this section, I have to admit that I had in my mind the picture of a really intense bodybuilder cracking an egg and swallowing the entire thing whole, from one of those mainstream 90's movies. I'm sure we've all seen this image. This medium sized eggs is housed to 7.5 grams of protein per eggs, which can easily add up depending on your portions. "Some brands of egg now contain omega-3 fatty acids, depending on what the chickens have been fed (always check the box). Eggs are regarded a 'complete' source of protein as they contain all nine essential amino acids; the ones we cannot synthesise in our bodies and must obtain from our diet", says BBCGoodFood.com.
Even though this article is generally geared more towards the bodybuilding branch of our community, having the understanding and functions of some of the foods that we eat everyday is necessary and vital to your health. Without the proper knowledge and execution, there's no way to grow in any aspect of our lives. Take this short list & really become empowered the next time you're at your local market.