After water, protein is the next most abundant in our body as it makes up about 20% of our body weight. Protein has a lifespan of at most 2 days and is necessary for repairing body tissues. As it comes in many shapes and sizes, the simplest ones look like little trains, like lots of cars linked together. Each ‘car’ is called an amino acid and there are 20 kinds of amino acids. As our body can only produce 11 types, we have to get the other 9 types, called essential amino acids, from these food sources below.
- Soy Protein Isolate
- Tofu (dried-frozen)
- Soy Nuts
- Peanuts (dry roasted without salt)
- Parmesan (low sodium)
- Cashew Nut
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
Soy protein isolate is a highly refined or purified form of soy protein with a minimum protein content of 90% on a moisture-free basis. It is made from defatted soy flour which has had most of the nonprotein components, fats and carbohydrates removed. 1 ounce (28g) of soy protein isolate is enough to meet 45% of your protein RDI(recommended daily intake)!
An average cup of soymilk contains about 14% of your RDI of protein. However, it is also a very good source of vitamin C (highly effective antioxidant), vitamin D (healthy bones), vitamin E (stronger immune system), riboflavin (energy metabolism, maintain good vision), niacin (energy metabolism), vitamin B6 (cell growth), vitamin B12 (building proteins in the body) and calcium (healthy bones and teeth).
1 piece of dried frozen tofu (17g) will meet 16% of your protein RDI. It is also a very good source of manganese, an essential nutrient for processing cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein.
1 ounce (4tbsp/28g) of soy nuts meets 22% of your protein RDI. It is also a very good source of manganese, a trace element necessary for bone health.
1 ounce (4tbsp/28g) of peanuts provide 13% RDI. It is also a good source of manganese and niacin (helps the digestive system, skin, and nerves to function).
The protein in eggs are of the highest quality obtainable from food. Nothing compares to it. A large hard boiled egg (50g) contain 13% RDI of protein. It is also high in selenium, a mineral needed in small amounts to make certain enzymes.
Of all the cheeses, low-sodium Parmesan cheese has the most protein, with each ounce (5½tbsp/28g) providing 23% of your protein RDI.
A cup (244g) of whole milk contains 16% of your protein RDI. Calcium is also plentiful in milk, essential in maintaining the nervous system.
A cup (245g) of plain low fat yogurt contributes 26% to your protein RDI. It is also a very good source of calcium (helps the blood clot formation process) and phosphorus (essential for healthy cell membranes).
One of the highest protein content among nuts. 1 cup (80g) provides 24% of your daily needs. It is also a real good source of manganese, providing 137% RDI for the same amount of weight.
Cashew nut provides the same amount of protein as the walnut. It is also a very good source of copper (synthesis of hemoglobin) and magnesium (production and transport of energy).
Pumpkin seeds have the highest protein value of all seeds. 1 ounce (28g) of dried kernels contain 14% of your protein RDI. It is also a very good source of magnesium (contraction and relaxation of muscles, production of protein), phosphorus (formation of bones and teeth, synthesis of protein for maintaining cells and tissue) and manganese (healthy skin, bone, cartilage formation).
1 tablespoon (8g) of sesame seeds provide about 3% of your RDI. It is also a very good source of selenium, a trace mineral that protects your cells from free radical damage.
Sunflower seeds come in third, fulfilling 12% of your protein RDI for each ounce (28g). It is also a very good source of vitamin E, preventing propagation of free radicals in tissues.
An ounce (4 tbsp or 28g) of dried spirulina provides 32% of your daily protein needs. It is also rich in thiamine (helps convert carbs into energy), riboflavin (helps maintain good vision), niacin (proper nervous system function), iron (hemoglobin and myoglobin production), copper (helps formation of red blood cells) and manganese (maintain bone health). This stuff is highly nutritious!
Contains very high amounts of protein. 3oz (85g) of cooked shellfish meets 81% of your RDI of protein. It also contains a lot of vitamin B12(building red blood cells), iron(formation of hemoglobin), copper(proper iron metabolism) and selenium(ensure proper thyroid function). However, it is also pretty high in cholesterol, with the same amount of weight contributing to 37% of your RDI.
3oz (85g) of cooked cuttlefish meets 55% of your recommended daily intake of protein. It is also very high in riboflavin (building tissue), vitamin B12 (maintaining normal function of nervous tissue), iron (blood production), phosphorus (utilization of carbohydrates and fats), copper (maintenance of blood vessels) and selenium (makes antioxidant enzymes that prevent cell damage). However, it is very high in cholesterol, meeting about 63% of your RDI for every 3oz, so keep it to a minimum.
3oz (85g) of cooked octopus provides 51% of your RDI of protein. It is also a champion provider for vitamin B12(a whopping 510%), Selenium(109%), Iron(45%), and Copper(31%). The downside, like all mollusks, is that it is high in cholesterol(27%).
3oz (85g) of cooked salmon provides 48% RDI of protein. Also a very good source of niacin(36%), vitamin B12(49%) and selenium(69%). However, cholesterol is considerably high at 19% for the same weight.
Every 3oz (85g) of canned anchovies provide about 48% RDI of protein. It is also a good source of niacin and selenium. However, sodium content is over the RDI at 129% for the same weight.
3oz (85g) of cooked tilapia contributes to about 45% of your protein RDI. It’s also a good source of vitamin b12(27%) and selenium(66%).
3oz of canned tuna in oil provide 43% RDI of protein. It is also a very good source of niacin (digestion), vitamin B12 (helps in the production of DNA and RNA) and selenium (prevention of oxidative stress).
½ a cooked chicken breast with skin removed, weighing at 3oz (85g), provides 67% of your RDI of protein. It is also high in niacin(74%), important for a healthy nervous system. However, cholesterol is also considerably high at 30% for the same weight.
Pork is the most consumed meat on the planet. 100g of cooked lean pork shoulder provides 65% RDI of protein. It is also high in selenium(53%). However, cholesterol is also high at 38% for the same amount of weight.
100g of cooked turkey breast provide 60% of your RDI of protein. It is also high in niacin (lowers “bad” LDL cholesterol), vitamin B6 (helps make neurotransmitters) and selenium (helps maintain regular heartbeats). Cholesterol is also high at 28% for the same amount of weight.
The top round is the leanest type of cut that you can find. A 100g of cooked top round beef contains about 72% of your RDI of protein. It also comes with a lot of vitamin B12(45%) and selenium(47%). However cholesterol is pretty high at 30% for the same amount of weight.
Lamb or also known as mutton, is another kind of red meat. Each 100g provides 71% of your daily protein needs. It is also high in selenium (lower risk of joint inflammation), zinc (cell reproduction) and vitamin B12 (prevents anemia).
Large caterpillars provide 28.2g of protein in every 100g. Insects are cheap and a sustainable source of protein. Asian countries such as Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam are no strangers to bug eating. Aborigines in Australia have been doing it for thousands of years.
Insects are more nutritious than many other common forms of protein. Every 100g of large grasshoppers contain 20g of protein and just 6g of fat. Additionally, farming insects emit 10 times less greenhouse gasses than farming livestock.
Typically, proteins from animal foods such as meats, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs are complete. Incomplete protein sources usually include nuts and vegetables. As a rough guide for vegetarians, consuming a mixture of plant based protein like the ones listed above increases the biological value. These complimentary protein sources should be consumed together at the same meal to provide optimal benefit. Meat should also be consumed moderately, especially meat organs and shellfish as they are relatively high in cholesterol.