If you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle, you’ve probably encountered many differences of opinion when it comes to a healthy diet. Some tout low-fat foods, others low carb, some eschew grain while others avoid meat. One thing just about everyone agrees on, though, is the importance of protein. Why is a protein such a big deal?
Your body uses protein for a number of things. Proteins help build muscle, blood and internal organs, and hair and nails are made almost entirely of protein. It’s used by your body in building and repairing tissue, and it’s also used to make enzymes, hormones, and other important chemicals. In fact, protein is in every single cell in the human body. It’s important to eat protein because your body does not store it the way it stores carbohydrates and fat.
The source of your protein is important. It’s easy to consume too much fat when you focus on protein, so be mindful of what you choose. Some good options for protein include:
- Fish: In addition to protein, fish offer the benefits of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, and are a lower fat option than most cuts of meat.
- Poultry: It’s easy to reduce the saturated fat in poultry, by simply removing the skin.
- Lean cuts of meat: Grass-fed beef is also a good source of vitamins A and E, along with healthy antioxidants. Choose cuts of beef and pork like round, top sirloin, or tenderloin, and cut off any visible fat.
- Beans: Beans are loaded with fiber, and have more protein than other vegetables. Eating them in conjunction with whole grains is a healthy way to get a complete protein.
- Eggs: In addition to containing thirteen vitamins and minerals, healthy unsaturated fat, and antioxidants, eggs also have about six grams of protein each, making them an excellent option.
- Tofu: Unusual among vegetable proteins, tofu is a complete protein in and of itself. Just one-half cup of tofu contains about ten grams of protein.
- Quinoa (KEEN-wah): This diverse whole grain is a complete protein, providing all nine essential amino acids.
If it’s time for you to make a lifelong lifestyle shift, Garden State Bariatrics can help. An MBSAQIP accredited bariatric practice, we provide surgical and ongoing medical care to help patients reach their surgical, nutritional and lifelong goals. Passionate about our work and committed to our patients’ success, we will do everything possible to assist you in living your best life.
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