Protein is an essential nutrient no matter what diet you’re doing to improve your health. Having a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates and fats is the key to achieving any result you’re aiming for.

Protein is vital in helping you retain and develop muscle. This is important for children who are young and growing, people who have physically demanding lifestyle or sports commitments and people who are naturally losing strength due to aging.

The recommended daily protein consumption is 1 gram of protein per 1 kilogram for an average healthy person.

For athletes, bodybuilders or weightlifters, 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended per day. Protein is particularly important to consume 30 minutes before and after physical activity or high-intensity workouts.

Having protein before workouts help muscles to endure the physical demands of exercise and having protein after workouts promote muscle recovery.

It’s important to know the best sources of protein when you’re trying to increase it in your diet.

Here are eight food sources that are highly available, easily absorbable for the body and high in protein content.

1. Eggs

Egg whites are one of the purest forms of protein. One medium egg has around 6 grams of protein in an easily digestible form. They can be cooked in numerous ways and can be added easily into meals.

Remember to watch how much you eat though as eggs are also high in cholesterol. One of the best ways to eat eggs for protein is by skipping the yolk and only eating the whites.

2. Milk

Milk is high in protein as well as calcium and carbohydrate — all important for making your bones, muscles, joints and your body as a whole, stronger.

Protein whey supplements are top-rated for post-workout recovery as they contain whey protein that is both slow and fast releasing into the body, resulting in improved muscle retention and speedier recovery.

3. Yoghurt

It contains a combination of casein (slow absorbing) and whey protein (moderate absorbing).

Slow releasing means that protein is digested slower by the body and released into the muscle at a slower and longer rate meaning muscle recovery works over a longer period. Perfect for when you are sleeping or when your body is at rest.

4. Red Meat

Red meats such as lamb and beef are rich in proteins and minerals. Many bodybuilders and physical athletes incorporate red meat in their diets as they also contain vitamins, minerals, and zinc.

Depending on the type of meat you select, some options can be better than others. Depending on how the meat is cut, prepared and served, you can keep fat and carbohydrate levels low making your meat extremely lean.

However, be careful not to have too much as it can increase your cholesterol.

5. Fish

Fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are excellent sources of protein. They are also very lean and contain Omega 3 fatty acids that assist in weight loss.

Fish is also extremely nutritious containing vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that can all aid in body and brain health.

6. Chicken

Chicken and turkey are incredibly lean and have a high protein profile. What makes chicken a popular choice for people looking to increase protein content is that it is low in carbohydrates and fat, meaning it won’t increase your fat levels if you are looking to add lean muscle to your body.

Chicken is also popular due to its diverse range of dishes it can be incorporated too.

7. Tofu

If you’re dairy intolerant, tofu is a perfect substitute for meat. Tofu contains 8 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Tofu also contains lots of amino acids. Amino acids promote muscle and tissue recovery making tofu a perfect post-workout meal.

Tofu also brings plenty of health benefits that include lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.

8. Almonds

Almonds aren’t just great for athletes, but also for people looking to improve their health in general.

They are a great source of protein and also have an excellent carbohydrate profile that also assists in muscle recovery.

Almonds are also high in fibre, magnesium and vitamin E. Almonds are easily digestible and can be carried around as an on the go snack.

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