Low-Fat Protein

March 15, 2012

A new study from The Harvard School of Public Health titled Red Meat Consumption and Mortality came to the conclusion that red meat causes a thirteen percent increased risk of death while substituting other healthy protein sources for red meat lowers mortality risk. The study followed more than 120,000 people over 28 years.  The research shows that replacing one serving of red meat with one serving of nuts reduces mortality risk by 19%, while reduction is 14% for poultry or whole grains, 10% for legumes and low fat dairy, and 7% for fish. The overall recommendations of the study are to lower intake of saturated fats, avoid processed meats, eat soy products in moderation and balance intake of carbs and protein. For those of us who are used to meals centered around meat entrees, this can be a difficult adjustment. Here are some excellent non-red meat sources for protein!
  • Soy. Soy or Soybeans can be found in different foods such peanut butter and soy milk. One cup of soybean can provide up to 29 grams of protein, similar to the amount offered by chicken. Soybean also helps strengthens bones, and reduces LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels. Fermented soy is best and includes tempeh and miso. Soy has estrogen-mimicking compounds that can have a negative effect, so eat in moderation.
  • Tofu. Tofu is known as soy curd. It contains 9 essential amino acids, and is a particularly good protein source for vegans. Tofu is also a rich source of calcium, and is therefore a terrific choice for growing children, and a great option for people with lactose-intolerance or dairy allergies to fulfill calcium and protein requirements.
  • Lentils. Lentils are a rich source of protein. Daily consumption of two cups of lentils provides adequate protein for healthy muscle development in both children and adults. Mineral-rich, lentils are grown throughout the world, making them an inexpensive source for protein that should be added to your daily diet. Lentils can be eaten alone, added to soups and stews or as part of a delicious bean salad.
  • Red Kidney Beans. Kidney beans are a versatile, delicious addition to many dishes. A single cup of red kidney beans provides up to 15 grams of protein. High in fiber and antioxidants, almost all beans are great sources of protein, and you should make it a point to include them in your regular diet.
  • Seeds. Seeds are also a rich source of protein, small in size, they're powerhouse of protein. Hemp seeds contain up to 34.6 grams of protein, along with all the 22 amino acids. Hemp seeds, flax seeds, quinoa, and sunflower seeds are also quite rich Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Use whole or grind them to sprinkle salads or side dishes.
  • Nuts. Nuts have been an important part diets throughout the world for thousands of years, and are a rich source of protein. Eat a handful as a snack, add to side dishes, or get creative with your favorite recipes. Chocked-full with nutrition, nuts are rich in fiber, phytonutrients, Vitamin E and antioxidants. Peanuts have more protein than any other nut, and are also the most popular!
If you eat a meat-heavy diet, you may be wondering why you should make these changes. It's about saturated fats. A six-ounce broiled porterhouse steak  has about 40 grams of protein, but it also contains about 38 grams of fat, and 14 of them are saturated ... more than 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for saturated fat! A six-ounce serving of salmon has about 34 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat, only 4 of them saturated. At the same time, a cup of cooked lentils has 18 grams of protein, and under 1 gram of fat. On the average, each person should consume up to 40 grams of protein per 100 pounds of body weight each day. These vegetarian sources for protein can fulfill the requirements, promote healthy muscular development in adults and children and help you live longer!

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