High Protein Foods: How They Help You Achieve Peak Health

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High Protein Foods: How They Help You Achieve Peak Health

For most people, prioritizing high protein foods in their daily intake is even more important than prioritizing carbohydrates and fats

One of the biggest aspects of your health is your diet. The foods you eat can affect so many things, from your mood and productivity day-to-day to your long-term health for many years to come.

Figuring out what foods to include in your diet can be tricky, especially with so much conflicting information out there. The truth is, eating healthy shouldn’t be complicated. All you need to do is prioritize your macronutrients: complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein.

Table of contents:

What Is Protein?

Protein is one of the three key macronutrients that every person needs to include in their daily intake. While your protein intake is necessary to keep your body nourished and your energy levels high, it does so much more than that.

Protein is made up of organic molecules called amino acids, which are found in a wide variety of foods. These acids play a starring role in many of the body’s production processes, including the formation of skin, blood, enzymes, hair, and much more.

Additionally, protein is directly related to your muscle tissue and is a deciding factor in how much lean muscle your body carries.

Why Eating High Protein Foods Is Important

For most people, prioritizing high protein foods in their daily intake is even more important than prioritizing carbohydrates and fats. One reason for this is that high protein foods are not usually as hyperpalatable as high carb or high fat foods, which means you may not naturally reach for them without some planning and effort.

Another reason to prioritize protein is the way that your body interacts with it. Unlike the other two macronutrients, extra protein consumed throughout the day is not stored as protein when unused. Therefore, even though you might wake up with extra carbs and fats stored from the day before, your protein intake will start from zero.

Protein and Weight Loss

A common misconception about high protein foods is that eating too much of them will cause bulky muscle development, which has deterred many people from prioritizing protein consumption the way they should. This idea can be traced back to the athletic community, whose members have used protein supplements since the 1930s to support their endeavors in sports and maintain or increase muscle mass.

Though protein is directly related to creating or keeping muscle tissue, the belief that eating protein with every meal will drastically change the size and shape of your body is simply false.

Just like carbs and fats, protein is simply an essential nutrient that happens to be a key component of the muscle-building process. However, that doesn’t mean that protein is only associated with increasing mass.

Why Is Protein Important for Losing Weight?

Did you know that protein plays a key role in the weight loss process, too? If you’re on a weight loss journey, keeping your protein intake high can make a huge difference in your success when combined with a regular exercise routine.

For the majority of people trying to lose weight, their goal is specifically to decrease their body fat percentage. Most individuals want to keep or even increase their muscle mass, which can help to create a toned, strong, and lean look throughout the body. When you reduce fat and maintain muscle, it shows the results of your hard work in the gym even more clearly.

Even if you haven’t thought about fat loss vs. overall weight loss in your journey, keep in mind that muscle burns more calories just by existing than fat. Who wouldn’t want more of that on their body if possible?

The more high protein foods present in your daily intake while you’re reducing your calories, the better your body will hold on to your muscle mass while dropping fat.

Additionally, protein-rich foods tend to be more satiating than carb-heavy or fatty foods, which means you’re less likely to be hungry on your weight loss plan and more likely to stick to it when your protein intake is high.

How Much Protein Do You Need Per Day?

Every person’s body is different, which means your specific protein needs will be unique to you. As a general guideline, the National Academy of Medicine recommends roughly 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of your body weight.

This recommendation can help you to find a protein target based on your current weight. However, if you are currently on a weight loss protocol or actively trying to build muscle mass, your specific intake of high protein foods might need to be reevaluated.

Talk to your doctor about the recommended protein intake for your weight, sex, health status, and health goals.

Should I Track My Protein Intake?

Is it necessary to track how many high protein foods you’re eating on a daily basis? It all depends on what your goals are. If you have a specific weight loss or muscle-building goal that you want to reach within a certain time frame, tracking your protein intake to make sure you’re getting enough will increase your chances of success.

If you’re just trying to eat healthier and support your long-term health, tracking how many grams of protein you eat per day is probably not necessary.

However, if you’ve never paid close attention to your protein intake before, tracking for one to two weeks could help you to better understand how much you’re eating now and how you can adjust to support your health.

What Happens if You Eat Too Much Protein?

Even though protein is an essential nutrient, consuming too much can cause problems. If you significantly surpass your protein target in a given day or over the long term, you may notice these unwanted symptoms.

Gut Health Issues

Gastrointestinal issues are some of the most common negative side effects of eating too much protein.

Though high protein foods are good for your body in many different ways, they typically aren’t great sources of fiber, which is essential for smooth digestion. This is why high protein diets can result in gas, bloating, constipation, and other digestive issues.

Lack of Other Nutrients

The key to a well-rounded diet is including foods that are rich in all three macronutrients. Additionally, you shouldn’t forget your micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are found naturally in foods like fruits and vegetables.

Even though prioritizing high protein foods is important, make sure you don’t accidentally undereat other nutrients. You could end up with a nutrient deficiency, which can cause a variety of short-term and long-term health effects.

The best way to prevent this is to make sure each meal and snack you eat contains a combination of macronutrients and micronutrients, not just one.

Benefits of High Protein Foods

Why is it so important to include more high protein foods in your diet? Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most significant benefits that are associated with a proper protein intake.

Supports Muscle Growth and Maintenance

High protein foods support muscle growth.

As we mentioned before, protein is one of the primary building blocks that your body uses to increase muscle and maintain the mass it has when dieting.

As long as you keep your protein intake on the higher side, you’ll have a much easier time increasing your muscle and maintaining a strong, athletic look, whether you’re in a growing phase or a weight loss phase.

Helps People With Type 2 Diabetes

Early research suggests that a diet packed with high protein foods could have a positive effect on people with type 2 diabetes. This is because protein can reduce the number of triglycerides found in your blood, which often leads to cardiovascular disease in those with diabetes.

If you have type 2 diabetes or a similar condition, make sure to talk to your doctor about the potential benefits or drawbacks before increasing your intake of high protein foods.

Heals Injuries Faster

Protein is an important part of the healing process when you get injured. Whether it’s a surface wound or an internal injury, the amino acids that make up protein play a key role in how fast and efficiently your body heals after getting hurt.

Including more high protein foods in your diet could improve your body’s ability to naturally recover from injury. This means that if you are currently healing from an injury, increasing your protein intake could even speed up your current recovery process while also making you less susceptible to injury in the future.

Keeps You Fuller Longer

Of all three macronutrients, high protein foods tend to be the most satisfying when it comes to curbing hunger.

Protein-rich meals will keep you feeling full for longer, which can be a convenient benefit during a busy work day or in the middle of a weight loss journey. Combine your high protein foods with fibrous carbs and vegetables, and you’ll be good to go for hours with natural energy.

6 Tasty (and Healthy) High Protein Foods

Increasing your protein intake is easier said than done. What are the best foods to include in your diet in order to get the amount of protein you need? Luckily, we’ve made it easy with this list of six high protein foods you should incorporate into your routine.

1. Lean Meats

Lean meats are high protein foods.

When it comes to protein density per gram, you can’t do much better than lean meats. This category contains many different types of meat, including:

  • Chicken breast
  • Ground turkey or chicken
  • Lean ground beef
  • Lean pork

Purchasing meat with “lean” on the package simply means that that product has a lower fat content than the standard version. This helps to keep your protein intake high without accidentally adding too much fat. You can enjoy these foods within sandwiches, stir-fried with veggies, inside tacos and burritos, or any style you prefer.

2. Fish

Much like other types of animal protein, fish is packed with protein and is very good for your health. Salmon, tuna, halibut, and cod are a few of the most common fish options that individuals will eat to increase their protein intake.

In addition to the protein content, most types of fish also contain other micronutrients that you need to be your healthiest. For example, salmon is considered to be a prime source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support a variety of internal functions in the body.

3. Tofu

For those who avoid animal proteins for health or personal reasons, tofu is an excellent plant-based source of protein. Tofu is a soy product that can be prepared in many different ways depending on your preferences. Additionally, it can be paired with other meatless, high protein foods, such as quinoa, beans, and leafy greens.

4. Eggs

Eggs are a vegetarian-safe animal protein that can be easily added to any diet. Whether you prefer your eggs fried, scrambled, or sunny-side up, even a single egg can add six grams of natural protein to your daily intake. Pair it with some sausage for added protein or some cheese and leafy greens to round out your nutrition profile. 

5. Greek Yogurt

If you’re looking for a sweet protein fix, Greek yogurt is the perfect option. You can enjoy the tart taste of unsweetened Greek yogurt or add a variety of toppings like honey, berries, and crushed nuts to create a decadent treat.

6. Protein Smoothies

One of the most convenient ways to get your high protein foods in for the day is with a smoothie made with protein powder. Protein powders come in all kinds of flavors and can be mixed with whatever ingredients you’re craving, making it simple to craft your experience to your tastes.

Nutritious Meals Packed With Protein at Clean Juice

Protein is an essential nutrient that can be found in a wide variety of foods. Wondering how to include high protein foods in your routine? At Clean Juice, boosting your wellness through whole foods has never been easier.

Make your protein intake an experience to savor with our protein-packed smoothies, sandwiches, bowls, and more. To order your next protein fix directly to your door, find your nearest Clean Juice today.


Disclaimer: The information presented here is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended as a substitute for medical counseling. Consult your doctor before using any health treatment, including natural remedies, and tell your doctor if you have a serious medical condition or are taking any medications.

If you’re unsure whether high protein foods would be a healthy choice for you, ask your doctor.