Lean protein is an essential nutrient for your body. It’s found in foods from all kinds of groups. It’s also the best type of protein for you and provides a minimum amount of fat.
It tends to give your body more energy, providing between 50 to 55 calories per serving with only 1 to 3 grams of fat.
This type of protein makes up between 10 and 35% of the caloric requirements for a normal sized person. That works out to be 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.
How can the consumption of lean protein support your body?
- Protein is the main component of your muscle tissues. It allows the production of tissues that both support and fill the various parts of your body, such as collagen, elastin, and keratin.
- Improves the formation and regeneration of your organs and the entire immune system function.
- It’s ideal for weight loss diets thanks to the high protein content and low amount of fat. Lean protein will make you feel full and prevent those food cravings that cause you to overeat.
- This type of protein is especially good for people who play sports and are developing new muscle tissue.
- Influences the growth of your hair and nails, as well as the health of your skin.
- Lean protein promotes the production of gastric juices, hormones, hemoglobin, vitamins, and various enzymes involved in your body’s chemical reactions.
- It’s essential for the formation of antibodies that are responsible for dealing with infections and other foreign invaders in your body.
- Two components of this type of protein, myosin and actin, aid in muscle contractions that allow cells to move.
- Eating lean protein provides you with quality energy reserves.
- Transports oxygen and carbon dioxide through your bloodstream.
What foods contain lean protein?
The following is a list of foods that are good sources for lean protein:
Eggs are one of the best options because they’re rich in minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, antioxidants, and nutrients that are essential for your brain.
This is the only food that can be completely separated from fat (egg whites) with plenty of protein: egg whites contain 11% protein and 0% fat.
- One large egg is equivalent to 6 grams of protein and 78 calories. Of those calories, 35% are due to protein.
A small steak provides 20 grams of protein, and a medium sized steak may contain up to 50 grams.
- The way you cook it determines how many nutrients are preserved: it’s best to prepare steak in the oven or roasted to maximize the protein content.
- If you plan to use oil, opt for healthy ones. Coconut, avocado, and sesame oil will give this kind of meat exceptional flavor.
3. Chicken and turkey
Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, provide lean protein and are much healthier choices than red meat. Both chicken and turkey contain fewer purines than red meat. Due to the high content of uric acid, purines are a leading cause of diseases like arthritis.
When it comes to cooking, making turkey and chicken is one of the easiest options you can find.
4. Fish and seafood
These meats contain lean protein, are healthy, and contain high doses of essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.
- Hake, sole, and cod contain between 10 to 20% protein with less than 5% fat.
- Tuna contains high-quality fats when eaten fresh. One serving of tuna is equivalent to 30 grams of protein and 179 calories, with only 1% fat. We recommend always opting for fresh caught tuna, because the canned varieties contain lots of salt and preservatives.
- Shrimp and prawns are low in calories but very rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain other nutrients, such as selenium and vitamin B12.
5. Dairy products
In addition to their calcium content and low fat, dairy products are another good option for lean protein.
- One cup of skim milk contains 8.4 grams of protein and only 0.4 grams of fat.
- Cottage cheese is a very lean cheese with high quality protein, thanks to its animal origin. It contains 12% protein and 4% fat.
- In addition, it’s rich in nutrients other than calcium, such as selenium, phosphorus, and vitamins B2 and B12.
- Lentils are rich in fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, manganese, and copper.
- One cup of cooked lentils gives you 18 grams of protein in 230 calories.
It’s good to combine lentils with a grain, such as rice, to get a complete protein balance while including all the essential amino acids and a little fat.
If you’re trying to reduce your consumption of meat, increase your intake of lentils. Just remember that you get higher quality protein from meat than from vegetable sources.
Do you think you get enough lean protein in your diet? What are some of your favorite sources?