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Proteins: high-protein foods and supplements
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Proteins: high-protein foods and supplements

What are protein-rich foods and how to integrate them into your diet

We hear more and more about how important it is to have a healthy and balanced diet and the fundamental role of proteins as an energy source for the organism.

For those who do sports or for those who simply want to lose weight, follow a protein diet is essential because proteins are mainly responsible for the increase of muscle mass (lean mass) and at the same time they promote the reduction of fat mass and therefore weight loss.

Proteins are organic macronutrients composed of 20 "bricks" constituting said amino acids.

All amino acids are essential for protein synthesis and our body is able to produce only 13 of them by itself, so it is necessary to introduce the others from the outside through a proper diet.

To this end, we must keep in mind which are the high protein foods containing both animal and vegetable origin proteins to be inserted more frequently in our daily diet (always without exaggerating!!)

High-protein foods

In general, foods rich in proteins of animal origin are more complete in their amino acid state than those of plant origin and this means that it is good to combine foods with different protein characteristics to have a more complete and balanced energy supply.

Foods with proteins of animal origin:

  • eggs (albumen)
  • cured meats (bresaola and raw ham, better if the serrano ham)
  • milk and derivatives (mozzarella, parmesan, grana padano)
  • lean beef, lean pork (loin or cutlet without fat), chicken breast or turkey
  • fish (shrimps, natural tuna, salmon, cod, hake, sardines)
  • Greek yogurt

Foods with proteins of vegetable origin:

  • Legumes (soy, lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas, broad beans)
  • Seeds (chia, hemp, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
  • dried fruit (almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts)
  • cereals (spelled, quinoa)
  • spirulina algae
  • seitan
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • vegetables (Roman cabbage, artichokes, spinach, peppers, aubergines)

Protein powder, a type of nutritional supplement 

Athletes and bodybuilding enthusiasts are well aware of this type of food supplements that are taken when food alone is not enough to achieve the high protein requirements of intense physical activity. 

Protein supplements can also help in the slimming phase, as the process of fat disposal involves a state of calories deficiency in the body that damages muscle mass.

It is therefore necessary, during a weight-loss diet, to consume high-protein foods, helping if necessary with a supplement from the outside in order to maintain a high concentration of proteins introduced into the body for muscular work.

On the market there are many types of protein food supplements among which very popular are the proteins in powder form, also organic (certified) and vegan, which are generally consumed by adding them to smoothies, water or milk.

Among all types of proteins in powder the most widespread and used are the whey proteins (most assimilable and digestible), but we also find those of casein (which release amino acids more slowly), egg white, peas, soya, rice, hemp and meat and chicken for non-vegetarians.

It is important to remember to always pay attention to quantities: an unbalanced feed with excess of proteins is counterproductive causing a renal overload to expel the extra nitrogen and an accumulation of fats (formed by the carbon skeleton that remains after the process of elimination of nitrogen).

For these reasons it is always advisable to be followed by a professional and avoid "do it yourself" diets.

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