12 High Protein Foods for Muscle Gain and Fat Loss

Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. Our body uses protein to build and repair important body tissues. Muscles, connective tissue, and skin are all composed of protein. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for dietary protein is 0.36 grams (g) per pound of body weight per day.

This is equivalent to 72 g protein per day for a 200 pound male and 54 g protein per day for a 150-pound female.  In ounces, that’s about 10 oz of cooked meat for adult men and 7-8 oz for adult women.  Many people believe this is not enough protein.

It’s true that the RDA has its limitations. The recommended total protein intake reflects how much protein we should eat each day to avoid protein deficiency and keep from getting sick.  Evidence suggests we should be eating more high-protein foods for optimal health. The ideal level of protein intake may be 0.50 g protein per pound of body weight or greater (1) and could be even higher for older adults.

Recently the dietary guidelines for Americans (DGA) have shifted away from providing a goal for daily intake of protein. Instead, the DGA emphasizes choosing high-quality sources of protein with each meal.

How can you be sure you are getting enough protein each day and are choosing the best sources of protein for your body?

This article will help you understand why the quality of protein foods you choose is important. We will discuss the health benefits of including more protein-rich foods in your diet, and you will learn about 12 of the best high protein foods that should be part of any healthy eating pattern.

1. Eggs

Eggs are considered a protein powerhouse. They are one of the healthiest sources of protein we can add to our diet. Low in saturated fat, they are an excellent source of several vitamins including vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, thiamin, and 35% of the dietary reference intakes (RDI) of choline, an essential for brain health.

Eggs are also rich in many essential minerals including phosphorus and selenium, an antioxidant in the body. One large egg provides 28% of the daily value of selenium. The protein in eggs is split between the egg whites and the yolk.

Egg protein contains all of the essential amino acids including the BCAAS valine, leucine, and isoleucine needed for proper health. The majority of the vitamins and minerals are concentrated in the egg yolk. Eat whole eggs to get all of the health benefits. A recent study found that eating eggs can help regulate body weight and reduce belly fat (7).

Replacing carbohydrates with protein foods, for example, replacing breakfast cereals with scrambled eggs boosts the production of appetite-suppressing hormones and increases satiety.

Hard-boiled eggs can make a great snack. Or you can try adding 2-3 scrambled eggs with a handful of avocado and some chopped veggies like spinach and onions to coconut flour tacos for a great high-protein breakfast. One large egg has 6 grams of protein and 78 total calories. Look at Omega-3 eggs to help increase your daily intake of these important Omega 3 fatty acids.

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