Foods Containing Protein - These Are The Most Important!


There are many foods that contain protein. The proteins can be found in both vegetable and animal foods. Proteins have many important functions in the body and, together with carbohydrates and fats, form the three main groups of nutrients. Many processes in our organism cannot take place without the help of proteins. Proteins are also major components of many cells. For these reasons, it is important that we consume sufficient protein with our food in order to optimally supply our body. As with other nutrients, there are of course some differences in protein-containing foods that need to be considered.

In which foods are proteins present?

Proteins are found in almost all foods. The only exceptions are pure oils and sugars. Of course there are more or less good sources of protein. Basically, however, two groups of protein-containing foods can be distinguished:

1. Vegetable proteins

Plant proteins belong to many different groups. The following quantities always relate to 100g of the protein supply source mentioned.

Legumes are good sources of protein, including peanuts (25g protein), lentils (12g), chickpeas (9g) and green peas (7g). Soy products also belong to the larger group of legumes, including tofu (14g) or soy milk (3.5g). Nuts also belong to the top group of protein-containing foods, almonds (22g), cashew nuts (17g) and the peanuts already mentioned have a high protein content. However, you should be careful here, as nuts are also very rich in fat and calories. In a name with the nuts, the hemp seeds such as sunflower seeds (20g), hemp seeds (30g) or pumpkin seeds (19g) should also be mentioned, which also contain a high proportion of valuable proteins. Another group of vegetable proteins are vegetables, which can also contain many other valuable nutrients. The front runners are green and Brussels sprouts (4.5g) as well as spinach and broccoli (each 3g). As the last larger group, the grain and pseudo-grain come into play. Oats, rye, barley, spelled, and rice are all high in protein. Quinoa (4.4) or amaranth (4.8), which are currently in the food trend, also have a good protein content.

2. Animal proteins

There are also different groups for animal proteins. One of these groups are dairy products, especially Tilsiter cheese (29g), Harz cheese (27g), cottage cheese (14) and low-fat quark (13g). The egg does relatively poorly with 11g of protein. Meat is another important source of protein. Salmon ham (35g), lean beef (30g for Serano ham) and turkey or chicken breast (22g) are particularly rich in protein. The last group of animal proteins is made up of fish products. Here, for example, the smoked trout (32g), salmon and trout (20g each) and shrimp (18g) have a high protein content.

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This is just a small collection of the most important protein foods. As already mentioned, proteins are found in almost all foods. It is also important to ensure a good combination with other nutrients in order to optimally supply the body.

How Much Protein Do People Need?

How much protein a person needs depends above all on age, state of health and other external life influences (e.g. fitness level, addictive behavior). For a normal healthy person, the daily protein intake should be as follows:

In the first year of life 2.5-1.3g protein per kg body weight. For children and adolescents, an intake of 1.0-0.9 g / kg should be kept. In adults between 19 and 65 years of age, the daily protein intake should not be less than 0.8 g / kg body weight. In numbers, that's 57-67g of protein per day. From the age of 65, the protein requirement increases again slightly to 1.0g / kg. Protein is so important because it is made up of amino acids that control countless processes in the body and also form the basic substance of many cells. In addition, proteins are part of important messenger substances and enzymes, as well as an important part of the antibodies of the immune system.

In order to meet the protein requirement, a combination of 2/3 vegetable and 1/3 animal proteins is recommended, because the most important thing is to take a favorable combination of the amino acids contained in the proteins. The biological value of the proteins plays a special role here; this indicates how many of the amino acids the body can produce from the respective protein. As an example: an egg has a biological value of 100, 500g potatoes have a value of 98. If the two are combined, a value of 136 is achieved. It also depends on which proteins are consumed together. There are numerous information sites on the Internet about good protein combinations. A nutritionist can also help create an appropriate nutrition plan.

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High protein diet for vegans

Since proteins are found in almost all foods and also in countless plant-based products, a protein-rich diet is not a problem for vegans either. Vegans can also achieve good biological values ​​by combining different foods. The rule of thumb for the combination is to use one food from the following three groups in one meal:

  • Seeds and nuts

  • Legumes and soy products

  • Rice, cereals and pseudograins

Because of these diverse sources of protein, vegans usually automatically cover their daily protein requirements. As already mentioned, the amino acids that can be extracted from it are decisive for the quality of a protein. There are 22 amino acids in total. The body can produce 13 of these itself, the remaining 9 must be taken in with food. The vegetable proteins have so-called complete proteins. These contain all 9 of these essential amino acids. Complete proteins include, for example, quinoa, soy products, chia seeds and buckwheat.

When does supplementation make sense?

Supplementation with proteins makes sense if the body cannot synthesize the desired amount of amino acids for various reasons, if the absorption of proteins is prevented or if the daily requirement cannot be covered with the diet. Supplementing with proteins can also be useful for athletes who want to gain muscle mass quickly or who want to achieve more energy during training (e.g. protein shakes). Since people usually consume sufficient protein through their diet, a protein deficiency is one of the less common symptoms and is usually the result of another underlying disease. For this reason, protein supplementation, if it is not used in sports, should only be carried out on the advice of a doctor, as the body otherwise excretes excess protein via the kidneys.