There’s a lot of debate about the healthiest sources of protein. Some experts suggest that red meat will increase your risk of developing heart disease, while others argue that lean cuts can be part of a healthy diet when combined with other nutrient-dense foods such as fish, fowl, and plant-based proteins. The latest research on the topic further muddies the water. A study published in Nutrition and Diabetes suggests that red meat is more detrimental to one’s health than chicken or fish—but only if you eat an unhealthy diet. You’ll be fine if you eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and meat. Here’s what you need to know about different types of protein and which ones are best for your diet.
Which protein has the most nutritional value?
If you’re concerned about which protein is “best,” you must look at the big picture. All protein sources are great when eaten in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. However, there are two categories of protein: complete and incomplete. Complete proteins are foods with all nine essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, in the correct quantities. These are plant-based proteins, like soy, beans, and certain types of nuts. These are only incomplete sources of protein: meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and certain grains, like quinoa and buckwheat.
Why is red meat important ?
Red meat is a nutrient-dense food source that provides our bodies with vitamins, minerals, and proteins. It’s also a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, as well as an excellent source of protein. The nutrients found in red meat are essential for good health, especially as you get older. Most people, however, don’t eat enough of it. One study found that only 12% of Americans meet the dietary recommendation for daily red meat. Instead, choose organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised to get the most out of your red meat. This will ensure that the cows are raised humanely and fed their natural diet, as opposed to being fed a diet of genetically modified corn, soy, and other grains.
Which type of meat is the leanest?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. The type of meat that’s leanest all depends on how it’s prepared. If you’re going to eat red meat, your best bet is to choose lean cuts of pork and chicken and avoid fatty cuts of beef and lamb. If you eat fish, ensure it’s wild-caught, not farm-raised. Farm-raised fish often feed on grains, which makes them fatty and nutrient-deficient. Dairy, including cheese and yoghurt, is leaner and more nutritious than you may realize. One cup of plain yoghurt provides about 13 grams of protein, about the same amount as an 8-ounce serving of fish.
Fish is excellent, but only if it’s wild-caught.
Fish is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help lower blood pressure, prevent blood clots, and reduce the risk of developing heart disease. The only “catch” is that you need to choose wild-caught varieties. Wild-caught fish is rich in nutrients, including high-quality protein and essential fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, farm-raised fish are usually fed an unhealthy diet of grains and soy, making their meat fatty and nutrient-deficient. As a result, fish like salmon, sardines, and herring are particularly rich in nutrients. They are high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals like iron and selenium.
If you’re going to eat chicken, make sure it’s organic and/or pasture-raised.
If you’re going to eat chicken, you should ensure it’s organic and/or pasture-raised. One study found that poultry raised conventionally was contaminated with substances that can negatively impact one’s health. Organic and pasture-raised birds are not fed antibiotics or GMOs and are allowed to roam freely outdoors where they can eat insects, worms, and other natural foods. Farm-raised poultry has been found to contain higher levels of uric acid and creatinine than its organic and pasture-raised counterparts. These uric acid and creatinine levels are associated with an increased risk of gout and kidney stones.
All protein sources are great when eaten in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. Regarding protein, it’s better to focus on quality rather than quantity. For optimal health, you should eat at least two servings of protein daily. Combining different types of protein can help make a balanced diet easier, especially if you aren’t eating a vegetarian or vegan diet. For example, if you have a salad for lunch, you could add some beans to your dinner to make up for the lack of protein in your salad. This can get tricky, though, if you eat primarily organic and/or grass-fed animal proteins, as they tend to be more expensive than conventionally raised varieties. If you’re trying to eat healthily, it’s best to focus on your protein, not just the amount.