Proteins are essential nutrients for the body. In fact, it is considered as the building blocks of the human body. Our bodies cannot make or produce proteins. And, for that matter, we rely upon our source of proteins on the foods we are eating.
Moreover, proteins are essential for building muscles. It’s obvious from a bodybuilder’s point of view as bodybuilding supplements are well-focused on a high amount of proteins.
The Most Common Source of Proteins
The most common recommendation for a protein source is meat, particularly red meat. However, studies1 find that overconsumption of red meat can result in colorectal cancer. Furthermore, eating high amounts of red meat can cause more unhealthy consequences such as type coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
In one study2, researchers say that red and processed meats are both bad for human health and planet. In fact, the researchers say red meat increases risk of early death3.
Healthier Options For Protein Sources
While we’ve been told from our early age and even during early stages of school that meat is the best source of proteins, we have more options. Yes, that’s the good news. We don’t have to eat meat only for proteins.
On the other hand, eating meat once in a while may not be a bad idea. After all, our ancestors were eating meat for survival. Of course, different people in different parts of the world had to make the most of the abundant food source they have.
Fortunately, for us today, we have more options when it comes to protein sources without solely opting for meat alone as a protein source. Below is a list of common foods containing enough proteins for our bodies.
- Peanuts – 1 cup contains 41 grams of protein
- Peanut butter – 2 tablespoons contain 9 grams
- Pumpkin seeds – 1 cup contains 39 grams of protein
- Cheeses such as Swiss, mozzarella, Colby Jack – 1 cup contains 36 grams of proteins
- Tempeh – 1 cup has 34 grams
- Low-fat cottage cheese – 1 cup contains 28 grams
- Oats – 1 cup contains 26 grams
- Tofu – ½ cup has 22 grams
- Tofu yogurt – 1 cup contains 9 grams
- Non-Fat Greek yogurt – 1 cup has 22 grams
- Kidney beans – 1 cup contains 21 grams
- White and pinto beans – 1 cup contains 19 grams
- Lima beans – 1 cup contains 15 grams
- Lentils – 1 cup contains 18 grams
- Edamame – 1 cup contains 17 grams
- Veggie burger – A single veggie burger contains 11 grams
- Cooked quinoa – 1 cup contains 8 grams
- Soymilk – 1 cup contains 7 grams
- Miso – 1 tablespoon contains 2 grams
Should We Avoid Red Meats At All Cost?
In almost every diet out there, protein is always present as a primary nutrient. This is why considering the sources of proteins in your dietary changes can be an important part of your healthy lifestyle practices.
But, you may ask, do red meats really that bad for health? The problem with today’s meat production is due to CAFO(Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). Why is this bad? Well, take a few moments to watch this video.
Additionally, the quality of foods fed to the cows along with plenty of antibiotics makes the meat not so healthy. And, when you consume a high amount of meats coming from animals raised in CAFO, there would certain health consequences along the line.
So, is there a kind of red meat suitable for human consumption? Of course, there is. Cows or animals raised in a conventional way eating grass as their primary source of diet are a good quality source of red meats.
However, eating very often may not be a good and healthy idea. Instead, make meat as an occasional treat such as during special events a few times a year. There is evidence that grass-fed beef4 5 meats contain more beneficial nutrients than CAFO meats.
Is Going Vegan A Good Idea?
Well, that’s a matter of preference, I think. While there is plenty of evidence that a vegan way of eating is so healthy, it is also undeniable that people who eat meats are healthy. As long as the meats even red meats are of a good quality such as grass-fed beef and consume sporadically, there won’t be a problem.
The key is eating healthy foods and there is nothing healthier than those foods closest to their natural forms and produce in a way nature does. Hence, whether you’re going vegan or not, it’s your choice.
On the other hand, if you have serious health issues, going vegan initially can be very helpful. And, along the way towards your recovery, you can start incorporating other foods that are organically produced including meat. But make sure, when it comes to meat consumption, always favor moderation.
But how moderate can you consume meat? Well, once a week or perhaps, twice a month is a good starting point. You don’t have to worry about your protein as there are other sources where you can get it without unhealthy consequences in the long run.