Protein is needed for almost every single function in our body, from tissue formation and repair, to hormones, to making antibodies, to our enzymes and to transport amino acids. Without a diet rich in essential amino acids, we would cease to function.
The human body requires 20 amino acids in order to synthesize proteins. 12 are known as nonessential amino acids (made by the body and so don’t need to be in the diet ). The remaining 8 essential amino acids are not made in the body, so they MUST be obtained from food. Eating complete proteins (having all 20 amino acids) is vital for a healthy and fit body..
The nutritional value of meats and dairy is largely dependent on the ingestion of the animal before slaughter and is therefore beneficial to eat organic, grass-fed meats and dairy products.
Let me share 5 complete proteins that are beneficial for fat loss as they keep post-meal insulin levels within a desirable range. When insulin is released into the bloodstream, it acts to shuttle glucose [carbohydrates], amino acids, and blood fats into the fat and muscle cells of the body.
Now, if these nutrients go into muscles, then the muscles grow and body fat is managed. If these nutrients go into fat, then muscle mass is unaffected and body fat is increased. The only time we want insulin levels to be high in the body is following a workout.
Eating the right foods at the right times will help control hormone levels and insure you aren’t storing fat on the body. Here are 5 of the best protein sources to help you shed fat, while building muscle and controlling hormone levels.
Grass-fed, Organic Poultry:
I chose to include chicken and turkey as these two meats are easy to find and have a lot of health benefits. I use both sources of meat every week.
Chicken provides approximately 68% of the daily value for protein and 72% of the daily value of cholesterol lowering vitamin B, niacin in 4oz.
Chicken is also a good source selenium. Selenium is needed for thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune Niacin helps optimize blood sugar regulation via its actions as a component of a molecule called glucose tolerance factor, which optimizes insulin activity. Vitamin B6 is essential for the body’s processing of carbohydrate (sugar and starch), especially the breakdown of glycogen, the form in which sugar is stored in muscle cells and to a lesser extent in our liver. A four-ounce serving of chicken supplies 72.0% of the daily value for niacin and 32.0% of the DV for vitamin B6.
Vitamin B6 for Cardiovascular Health
In addition to its role in energy metabolism, vitamin B6 plays a pivotal role as a methyl donor in the basic cellular process of methylation, through which methyl groups are transferred from one molecule to another, resulting in the formation of a wide variety of very important active molecules. When levels of B6 are inadequate, the availability of methyl groups is also lessened. One result of the lack of methyl groups is that molecules that would normally be quickly changed into other types of molecules not only do not change, but accumulate. One such molecule, homocysteine, is so damaging to blood vessel walls that high levels are considered a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. As noted above, 4 ounces of chicken will supply about one-third (32.0%) of a person’s daily needs for vitamin B6.
Turkey is beneficial for fat loss as it keeps post-meal insulin levels within a desirable range. The nutritional value, closely depends upon the diet that the turkey has been fed. Organic meats and dairy are largely dependent on the ingestion of the animal before slaughter and is therefore beneficial to eat organic, grass-fed meats and dairy products.
Turkey is an excellent source of protein, providing 68% of the daily value in a 4oz portion. Along with protein, turkey is a very good source of selenium, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus and zinc which boost the immune system and keep your heart functioning optimally.
Organic Greek Yogurt
Excellent source of calcium and good source of protein, Greek yogurt consists of bacteria cultures to aid digestion, and can be found without fat or added sugarsYou’re right. Greek yogurt is becoming very popular. Many companies are adding it to their line up. Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt, so many people feel like they’re eating a decadent, rich treat. It’s also a great low fat substitute for regular sour cream.
Greek yogurt is made slightly differently than regular yogurt and this is what changes its consistency. After the milk is heated and cultured (i.e. the active live cultures are added), Greek yogurt is strained in a filter or cheesecloth. This straining process removes the whey, the liquid part of milk.
The remainder is a thick yogurt with twice as much protein as regular yogurt. One serving (3/4 cup) of plain, non fat Greek yogurt has 18 to 21 grams of protein and 110 to 120 calories. The same amount of regular, plain non fat yogurt has 9 grams of protein and 100 calories.
Greek yogurt has slightly less milk sugar (lactose) than regular yogurt as some is removed with the whey.
Lean Organic Beef
Lean organic beef provides a very good source of protein, and a good source of vitamin B12, selenium, zinc, iron, phosphorus and B vitamins without the concern for pesticides, hormone and antibiotic residues that may be found in non-organic varieties.
Lean beef provides 64% of the daily value for protein in just 4oz and contains nutrients that protect your heart and prevent colon cancer:
Diets high in vitamin B12-rich foods, especially if they are low in fat, are also associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer an with the addition of Selenium, which also helps reduce the risk of colon cancer, you can ensure your risk significantly drops.
Lean beef is a good source of zinc, which is helpful for preventing the damage to blood vessel walls that can contribute to atherosclerosis and is also needed for the proper function of the immune system, making it a good nutrient for helping to prevent infections, common cold, and flus.
4oz of salmon contains at least 2 grams of omega-3 fats, more than the average U.S. adult gets from all food over the course of several days. Omega 3’s are known for their benefits in decreasing cardiovascular heart disease risk, improving mood and cognition, as well as joint protection. This protein is also a very beneficial fat source to help with regulating hormones.
White Fish (low mercury)
White fish is very low in fat and high in protein. Consuming a diet with moderate amounts of white fish will ensure you are showing off your stomach every chance you get.
Fish oils have been proven to:
- increase insulin sensitively
- inhibit fat storage
- provide energy
- improve muscle growth
- prevent muscle breakdown
- lower cholesterol
- reduce inflammation
- chick peas
Your diet should not be a battle and I trust that this will help guide you towards achieving better health through the these top choices of protein.