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Healthy Sources of Protein

Jul 4, 2008
Protein is used to grow and maintain tissue in the body, so it is a vital part of everyone's diet. Red meat contains a lot of protein but it is also high in saturated fat. Fortunately, there are many healthy sources of protein, including lean chicken, pulses and nuts.

When people start eating a healthy diet, they are often concerned about levels of protein. One of their main concerns can be the fact that whilst red meat is high in protein, it should only be consumed in limited quantities, as it also contains a lot of saturated fat.

However, there's no need to worry about your diet lacking in protein, as there are plenty of healthy vegetables, nuts and seeds that contain this vital nutrient.

What protein does

Your body needs protein to grow and maintain tissue. Muscles, internal organs, blood, skin and hair all require protein for a healthy structure. You also need protein to repair any damage that your body has sustained. For example, collagen is a protein that makes up scar tissue and strengthens the walls of arteries.

Vital hormones such as insulin and thyroxine are made of proteins. Insulin helps maintain blood-sugar levels, while thyroxine helps control metabolism and body temperature.

Digestive enzymes that break down food are also made of proteins, as are the antibodies your immune system needs to fight off infection.

Proteins really are the building blocks of life.

Good sources of protein

With red meat containing saturated fat and processed meats often containing potentially harmful additives, it's just as well there are many other, healthier sources of protein.

Lean chicken and turkey have a high protein content. But be sure to buy organic poultry, because factory farmed meats may contain antibiotic and hormone residues. You can also be sure that free range chickens and turkeys have lived a good life.

Be sure to grill or stir-fry chicken when serving it - it certainly won't count as a good source of protein if it's deep-fried!

Oily fish - such as salmon, sardines and herring - is a great source of protein, and it has the bonus of containing high levels of Vitamin A. Eating oily fish also helps combat heart disease and arthritis.

Mung beans, lentils and chickpeas can be combined to make the base for a delicious, protein-rich curry. If you want a healthy snack that is full of protein and will give you a satisfying feeling of fullness between meals. Why not try a handful of cashew nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, raw shelled hemp seeds or flax seeds.

The key to maintaining a healthy level of protein is to eat a wide variety of nourishing, protein-rich foods. Try different food combinations to get the optimum level of essential nutrients.

More ideas for healthy sources of protein can be found in the best selling book Gillian McKeith's Food Bible - The Complete A - Z Guide to a Healthy Life. Gillian McKeith is a world-renowned nutritionist, promoting a natural, holistic diet.

She is the author of the newest bestselling book 'Gillian McKeith's Food Bible', and known around the world for her television programme You Are What You Eat.
About the Author
Even more healthy recipes and food ideas can be found at http://www.gillianmckeith.info. This article was written by Stephanie Lee, a copywriter with an interest in healthy living.
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