Most of us know what healthy foods to eat to lose weight and gain muscle, but we also need to know what healthy foods help us in this hugely effective process of gaining muscle mass. Keeping yourself fit and finding working out so much fun is quite easy if you have the right kind of food that you intake as part of your daily diet. This article talks about important tips to follow while selecting food that is full of nutrients and ideal for working out.
Healthy Foods To Eat To Lose Weight And Gain Muscle
Did you know that your organs, tissues, muscles and hormones are all made from proteins? It’s true, and high-protein foods, which supply nutrients that are used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly.
Because proteins are involved in just about every body function, it’s important that you consume foods high in protein every day, ideally with every meal.
Studies show that eating a high-protein diet has a number of health benefits. Not only does it prevent symptoms of protein deficiency, but it also helps you maintain and lose weight, stabilizes your blood sugar levels, improves your ability to learn and concentrate, reduces brain fog, and supports your muscles and bones.
Many people make the mistake of trying diets that involve calorie counting and deprivation. On a high-protein diet, you will feel more satiated after eating, and you won’t have to deal with the blood sugar highs and lows that lead to cravings and moodiness.
You’ll be surprised to see how many foods you can eat on a high-protein diet. Even people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, who sometimes turn to processed foods for energy, have enough high-protein foods to choose from.
So how can you eat a lot of high-protein foods while sticking to a balanced diet? Let’s take a look at some of the best high-protein foods for overall health, including protein sources for vegans and vegetarians.
Top High-Protein Foods
1. Grass-Fed Beef
- 3 ounces: 22 grams of protein
Grass-fed beef is one of the best high-protein foods that you can find. Not only does it supply almost 50 percent of your recommended daily value of protein, but it’s also a rich source of vitamins A and E and powerful antioxidants.
Grass-fed beef nutrition has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood sugar levels due to its protein and healthy fat content.
2. Organic Chicken Breast
- 3 ounces: 21 g
One chicken breast supplies over 30 percent of your recommended daily value for protein, making it an excellent high-protein food option that can easily be added to healthy lunch and dinner recipes.
Chicken is also a source of B vitamins, like niacin and vitamin B6, which are important for lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease, treating diabetes, supporting metal health and lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
Choose organic, free-range chicken breast to ensure that the chicken was fed organic food grown with no pesticides, received no antibiotics and was given access to the outdoors.
3. Protein Powder from Bone Broth
- 1 serving (¼ cup): 20 g
Protein powder made from bone broth is packed with protein and powerful amino acids that support gut integrity and detoxification. It also contains beneficial minerals, including potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium.
With just one serving of this protein powder, you ingest the healing benefits of bone broth like improving joint health, reducing cellulite, boosting your immune system and helping deal with leaky gut.
- 1 cup: 18 g
Eating lentils is a great plant-based protein food for vegans and vegetarians to get enough protein in their diets. A cup of lentils checks a lot of boxes off the nutrient list, including protein, dietary fiber, folate, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins, just to name a few.
The protein and other nutrients in lentils help boost cardiovascular health, aid digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and alkalize the body and balance its pH level.
5. Wild-Caught Salmon
- 3 ounces: 17 g
Fish are great protein sources, and wild-caught salmon is one of the healthiest high-protein foods around because it’s also high in omega-3 and a slew a vitamins and minerals — including vitamin B12 (with well over 100 percent of your daily value from a three-ounce piece); vitamin D; selenium; vitamins B3, B6 and B5; and potassium.
Its healthy fats make it a perfect protein for the keto diet meal plan. Meanwhile, the benefits of salmon nutrition promote the health of your entire body, including your brain, bones, heart, eyes, skin and cells.
6. Black Beans
- 1 cup: 15 g
Black beans are another high-protein food that can be consumed by people following a vegetarian or vegan diet. They are an excellent source of both protein and fiber, which can help make you feel full and satisfied after eating, while also controlling your blood sugar levels so you don’t experience blood sugar highs and lows.
The protein and fiber duo found in black beans also helps the body absorb nutrients and release acids into the bloodstream, which makes you feel energized and helps cleanse your digestive tract.
- ½ cup: 15 g
Natto is a fermented food that’s made by soaking whole soybeans, steaming them and adding healthy bacteria into the mixture. It offers an array of health benefits due to its protein, manganese, iron, copper, magnesium, vitamin K and vitamin C (just to name a few) content.
- 1 large free-range egg: 7 g
Did you know that eggs are one of the best low-carb, high-protein foods since they have a complete amino acid profile, plus healthy fats? That means eggs contain all nine of the essential amino acids that we need to get from our food.
Add eggs to your diet to boost your heart health, aid in weight loss, prevent metabolic syndrome and boost skin health.
Eggs also are rich in biotin, which helps improve protein absorption. Vitamin B6 also plays an important role in protein absorption as it helps enzymes break down the protein and carries the disassembled amino acids to the blood.
Keep in mind, to get the full health benefits of eggs, stick to organic, free-range eggs, which guarantee the hens are allowed to roam, wander, perch and have a good quality of life. Plus, free-range eggs, when compared to eggs from caged hens, contain more vitamins and omega-3 fat and less cholesterol.
- 6 ounces: 6–9 g
Yogurt is a great source of protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals, and it’s full of beneficial probiotics that help improve the microflora in your gut, thereby supporting your digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Adding this high-protein, probiotic food to your diet can boost your immune system, support weight loss and regulate your mood.
This is why probiotic yogurt is considered a superfood. While Greek yogurt is a common go-to, you can also try yogurt made from goat or sheep milk.
Keep in mind that yogurt is more than a healthy breakfast food — it can also be used in place of mayo or sour cream in all sorts of recipes.
10. Goat Cheese (and Other Raw Cheeses)
- 1 ounce: 7 g
Goat cheese comes from beneficial goat milk, which contains A2 casein protein (instead of A1 casein that’s found in cow’s milk) and is therefore easier to digest.
Cheeses like goat cheese and feta cheese provide a good deal of protein per serving, and they help promote nutrient absorption and supply medium-chain fatty acids that boost energy levels and help lower cholesterol.