Author: Renu Puri
This blog is for everyone – from bodybuilders looking to gain muscles to budding health enthusiasts who want to get their protein levels in check to lead a better and more fulfilling life. In this blog, we start by explaining what protein is, types of amino acids, suggested daily intake for men and women, benefits of protein, and a list of high-protein foods that will help you gain muscle.
Read on to deep dive into the topic and learn something new about protein.
Almost every health advertisement, nutritious food packaging, and any fitness blog on the face of this planet promotes the benefits of a protein-rich diet. Sure, you can’t undermine the nutritional value of carbs or healthy fats but protein plays multiple pivotal roles in the proper functioning of the body.
In India, a lot of people have misconceptions that the only way to get enough protein is to hop on a non-vegetarian diet that is filled with meat or consume whey protein powder. This is a result of the lack of nutritional awareness. The other day we had our vegetarian client Daksh tell us that he’s worried about his daily protein intake because Shalin Bhanot from the famous Indian reality show Big Boss 16 said that chicken is the only source of protein and a vegetarian diet can’t compensate for one’s daily protein intake. Needless to say, we advised Daksh to limit his screen time and focus more on his diet :)
A vegetarian diet can also be loaded with proteins, provided you know what to eat. According to Dietary Guidelines, the daily intake of protein for women is 46 gm and for men is 56 gm. However, your exact protein intake in accordance with your body type will solely depend on factors like age, activity level, pregnancy status, body goals, etc.
If you are an eggetarian, it could be relatively easier for you to amp up your protein intake. After all, an egg with any dish tastes superb. Add 2 eggs to a stir fry, toast, paratha, or whole wheat pasta and it will add a distinct yet delicious flavor to the dish. One egg has 6 gm of protein and 13 vital minerals and vitamins which makes it packed with health and goodness. But if you’re anyone like me and don’t like having the same redundant food every day, you’re in luck because in this blog we will be discussing 15 high-protein sources that will help you gain the muscle of your dreams!
Before we dive into the sources of protein, let us first get you acquainted with what “protein” is. Everyone has heard of the terminology but not many know what it means in actuality. Proteins are molecules that contain essential amino acids that are required by our body.
Protein will help you get a muscular body like your favorite Indian bodybuilder while also ensuring that your bone health is good, your metabolism is well boosted, and your weight is at an ideal number. So, whenever you take a bite of the tempeh wrap or tandoori chicken salad, you are letting your cells absorb those amino acids that will help you sustain multiple bodily functions.
Types of amino acids:
Some people associate protein with bodybuilding, and while it may help bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts gain muscles, every single human body has a daily protein requirement. If taken in the right amounts, there are numerous benefits to the body in the long haul :
Just because something is conventionally “healthy” doesn’t mean that it has to taste bland, tasteless or awful. Protein is found in many of the “tasty” dishes that you may enjoy. Vegetables and rice too contain protein, although not in the kind of quantities one would want, they can also contribute to a percentage of your protein intake.
To clear the air, we have narrowed down protein-rich foods that can help you build your muscles and stay at the top of your health game. Vegetarian, vegan and non-vegetarian options will be included so anyone and everyone, regardless of their dietary lifestyle can benefit from the blog: -
100 gm of pinto beans have about 21 gm of protein. They are primarily composed of fibre, carbs, and proteins. Pinto beans also carry a lot of essential nutrients like minerals and vitamins. They are one of the best high-protein foods that you can include in your daily diet. Pinto beans are versatile and can be combined with anything – Rice, Tortilla, Rotis, Quinoa, Oats, etc. You can even make yourself a healthy taco every once in a while, with Quinoa flour and pinto beans.
In Indian households, it is said that a balanced diet includes sabzi, roti, dal, chawal, and salad. That is why a lot of families eat dal as a staple meal every day of the week. If you’re one of them, you’re in luck because all pulses are very high in protein. Pulses are a good way to eat on a budget whilst still making sure that your vitamins and being replenished from time to time and your protein intake is optimum. 100 gm of pulses have about 9 gm of protein.
Quinoa has around 4.4 gm of protein per 100 gm. It has gained quite a huge popularity worldwide for being a super grain. A long time ago, this grain was considered sacred by the Inca civilization. Today, it is greatly popular among vegans and people who follow a gluten-free lifestyle. Quinoa is filled with nutritive properties and has numerous health benefits - anti-inflammation properties, high in important vitamins and minerals, adds protein to the body, and is known to boost metabolism. Cut some veggies, or shred some chicken in a bowl of quinoa and you would have a tasty meal that is also very healthy.
From Alia Bhatt’s favorite Chia pudding to Shilpa Shetty’s go-to Sattu drink with almonds, we have seen celebrities rave about the benefits of seeds and nuts time and time again. They make the perfect healthy snack options while providing your body with sufficient proteins. Seeds have good unsaturated fats and also are great sources of vitamins while nuts foster great brain health. Some of the nuts and seeds you can incorporate into your diet to get protein can be walnuts, soy nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
Paneer to vegetarians is equivalent to non-vegetarians “butter chicken”, and no wonder it compares to the #1 curry of North India, as paneer does taste awesome. While many consider it an indulgence, it is pretty much packed with protein and can also give great weight loss results. Paneer also can keep you satiated for longer. It can be made very healthy if you follow the right recipes. Just make sure to not add any cashews or heavy cream to prepare your gravy and voila! Your protein intake for the day is taken care of. It has around 18 gm of protein per 100 gm serving.
Soy is a great source of protein and is often used as a replacement for people who want to consume more protein than what paneer, vegetables and nuts can provide. It is also great for people who are lactose intolerant. 1 cup of soya milk approximately contains 8 gm of protein. It also tastes delicious so if you are thinking of quitting dairy, soya milk can be a great alternative. You can use it in your coffee, cakes, smoothies, teas, or pretty much anywhere the milk would belong.
Any form of meat is packed with protein and the world knows it. Chicken is a staple for people in India. In fact, it is the most-eaten non-vegetarian food in North India. From scrumptious dishes like chicken biryani to mouthwatering curries like chicken changezi, people all around the world appreciate Indian cuisine for its tasty chicken dishes. 100 gm of chicken has approximately 27 gm of protein. Apart from having a great amount of protein, chicken also has niacin and phosphorus that result in good heart health. People often get confused as to how much quantity would be ideal for them if they want to include it as a primary source of protein in their diet. That solely is based on your body type, genetic makeup, activity levels, lifestyle, and other relevant factors and can be explained in detail by a registered dietitian.
Lamb takes us back to my memorable food expeditions in purani Dilli, Lucknow, and Kashmir. Lamb recipes, although expensive, are extremely irresistible. From foods like Sikandari Raan to Lamb seekh kebabs, anyone looking for a great source of protein can indulge in these specialties – Just make sure that you don’t glaze it with heaps of butter and consume lean cuts only. In 100 gm of lean lamb, there is about 25 gm of protein.
As discussed above, egg proteins are awesome! Eggs are great sources of protein and can be coupled with any dish to make it healthier and of course, tastier. Eggs are affordable, easy to cook, and packed with great sources of nutrients that can help your body gain muscles. 1 egg contains around 6 gm of protein.
Fish is fabulous for your health, especially for your eyes. Essentially, your retinas require 2 kinds of omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA. These can be found in many types of fish like tuna, trout, salmon, and other types of seafood as well. Omega-3 has been reported to prevent eye diseases like glaucoma. The omega-3 and proteins can give you good heart health, a robust immune system, smooth blood circulation, and clear skin. A bonus is that eating fish is also linked to an uplifted mood and better mental health! 100 gm of fish contains around 22gm of protein.
Although fruit may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word “protein” there are certain foods that are protein-rich and can be incorporated into your diet to give you a good dose of protein. Guava is one of the most protein-filled fruits and offers 4.2 gm of protein per serving. It is also filled with antioxidants and vitamins. Avocado is also very rich in protein too – 4.6 gm per serving. You can put slices of avocado on your toast or mash it into guacamole to eat it with your healthy pinto bean taco.
Prawns, apart from being good for your skin and heart, are excellent sources of protein. Like any seafood, prawns are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. 100 gm of prawns contain 24 gm of protein. Although prawns can be delicious and packed with protein, it is important to consume prawns within a limit. Overconsumption can have ill effects on health so consult a certified nutritionist to know how much would be ideal for your body.
Greek Yogurt, the little colorful boxes shelved beautifully in the health aisle of grocery stores is indeed very healthy and packed with proteins. The creamy texture combined with the sweet taste of the yogurt is also considered to be a great replacement for unhealthy desserts. People with a sweet tooth consider Greek Yogurt to be a boon in the health and fitness space. It pairs well with sweet and savory dishes and is slowly gaining a lot of popularity in India. Just make sure that you go for sugar-free options while purchasing it. A cup of Greek yogurt usually contains 10 gm of protein.
If you are a toast and coffee kind of person, Ezekiel bread would be a game changer for you. Ezekiel bread, for those not familiar, is a nutrient-dense sprouted bread made from various grains and legumes that sprout. If you have a side-by-side comparison of normal white bread with Ezekiel bread, you will see that white bread is made just out of refined wheat flour whereas Ezekiel bread is filled with nutrients and fibre. It is not only highly rich in protein but also has 0 gm of sugar. Millet, wheat, barley, spelt, soybeans, and lentils are the key ingredients of this bread making it nutritious and loaded with beneficial minerals.
Tempeh is made from Soybeans. Though it has been recently popularized in the Indian market, Indonesians have been consuming this protein-filled food since the 1800s. Soy is a great source of protein and is an excellent replacement for meat if you are considering gaining muscle. It contains 19 gm of protein in every 100 gm. The nutty flavor of tempeh is very distinct and indeed delicious. Another good thing about it is that it does not contain any amount of cholesterol and is a great way to get vitamins, fibre, iron, calcium, and other essential minerals. Overall, it improves insulin resistance, lowers blood pressure, and protects your heart health by lowering inflammation. So, if you’re vegan and want to build muscles, tempeh can be a great addition to your diet that wouldn’t let you compromise on your daily protein intake.
It’s always great to think of taking charge of your health. Although, figuring out the amount of protein you will need to build muscle will be dependent on your body weight, activity levels and goals. As body weight is a vital factor, recommendations will be given with regards to the gram-per-kilo ratio, as a rule of thumb. That is why, if you want to sort your daily protein intake or get access to a muscle-gain diet, you need to seek professional guidance.
From nutrition guidance to customized meal planning to motivating you, we do it all. Our registered dietitians take into consideration your body type, ailments, and goals to help you build muscles naturally through a protein-rich diet chart.
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