Protein is an essential part of any healthy diet, especially if you get a lot of exercise. High-protein diets can help keep you feeling full for longer and also help with restoring your muscles and tissues. However, there are many different types of protein and so it can be confusing for even the most dedicated of health addicts. Even more confusing, different types of protein are good for you in different ways.
In no particular order, here is our list of the top five types of protein, and why each one has different benefits and advantages.
- Seafood and Lean Meats
Animal protein is easy to access and full of other benefits such as heme iron and various nutrients and amino acids. However, it can also be high in fat and cholesterol. For that reason, our choice of animal proteins are seafood and lean meats: fish has benefits such as heart healthy omega-3 oils, whereas lean chicken can provide the cheapest amount of protein per gram for animal protein.
- Dairy products
If you are not keen on consuming animal protein, then there are plenty of other fresh alternatives. Dairy in its multiple forms like milk, yogurt and cheese is full of protein, and is tasty as well. Dairy foods tend to have a high amount of nutrients such as calcium, but they can also be high in fat. For that reason, try go for low fat alternatives such as skim milk. If you are keen about being green, go for dairy products that are derived from grass-fed animals and that are rBGH-free.
- Soy protein
Soy protein can be consumed from actual soy or in powdered form, but either way it is a great form of protein with multiple benefits. Soy’s key selling point is that it is naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat. Soy also helps to lower LDL cholesterol, the ‘bad’ cholesterol thought to be responsible for conditions such as heart disease.
- Whey protein supplement
Whey protein is a very common protein supplement that is often used by athletes. It is popular because of its low price tag and high level of nutrients. One of the many great things about whey is that, even more so than other proteins, it is very filling and even helps to lower your levels of ghrelin, the hormone that controls your hunger levels. This makes it excellent for those trying to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously.
- Casein protein supplement
Casein is another popular protein supplement, which is mainly valued because it can take anywhere from 5-8 hours to fully break down in the body. This makes it a great source of protein to consume before bed. The slow and steady release of protein into the body makes this source of protein one of the best in terms of timing and availability. If you’re looking for casein in its natural form, drink a glass of milk before bed.
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