At the moment, we are seeing a trend towards more and more protein products on the shelves of many supermarkets. The range of protein-rich supplements, such as high-protein chocolate bars and the like, is growing by the day. But why is protein so popular and healthy? And are protein supplements necessary or just a new trend? In the following article, we explain what protein is all about and name the top 5 animal and plant protein sources in each case.
What are proteins and why do we need them?
Proteins are so-called macronutrients. Along with nutrients such as fats and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three most important nutrients in our body. With four kilocalories per gram, proteins are not only a valuable energy supplier. They provide the body with important building materials – the so-called amino acids. They play an important role in building and maintaining our muscles, stabilise hormone levels and protect our immune system. Since the body needs eight of these important essential amino acids, which it cannot produce itself – these include leucine, tryptophan, threonine, methionine, valine, isoleucine, lysine and phenylalanine – it is essential for us to regularly supply the body with proteins. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body itself from food components.
In short: the human body needs proteins to constantly rebuild its body cells. This is also confirmed by nutritionists from the DGE (German Nutrition Society). In addition, proteins accelerate the metabolism and also boost fat burning, which is why they are so popular with athletes and weight-loss enthusiasts.
How much protein is healthy?
The recommended protein intake for an average adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For children between 4-18 years of age, this value is 0.9 grams per kilogram of body weight due to advancing growth. You can find a detailed list at the German Nutrition Society – DGE reference values for protein.
Protein-rich animal foods (Top 5)
1. Eggs – The delicious breakfast eggs contain many good minerals and vitamins. They also contain high-quality proteins. The DGE recommends 2 – 3 eggs a week. – 6 grams of protein per egg.
2. Salmon – The tasty fish contains a lot of good proteins and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect and can have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. – 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of salmon
3. Milk – The glass of milk contains a lot of healthy protein and also a lot of calcium. It also contains many important vitamins. – 3 grams of protein per 100 grams of milk
4. Hähnchenbrust – Lean chicken meat contains a lot of protein with a low fat content. This makes chicken a good source of animal protein. (Attention: always cook through!) – 23 grams of protein per 100 grams of chicken.
5. Magerquark – Quark is rich in calcium and also rich in valuable proteins. It also contains very little fat and is therefore highly recommended. – 13 grams of protein per 100 grams of low-fat quark.
Protein-rich plant foods (Top 5)
1. Chickpeas – The delicious chickpeas not only contain many valuable proteins but also iron and calcium. – 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of chickpeas.
2. Oat flakes – In addition to their high protein content, the tender flakes are rich in vitamins, minerals such as magnesium, iron and zinc, and fibre. – 13 grams of protein per 100 grams of oat flakes.
3. Pumpkin seeds – Besides good proteins, the seeds also contain valuable unsaturated fatty acids, which can have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system. They are also rich in dietary fibre. – 25 grams of protein per 100 grams of pumpkin seeds.
4. Soybeans – They are high in fibre and therefore easy to digest. They are said to lower blood pressure and are of course also full of protein. – 25 grams per 100 grams of soybeans.
5. Broccoli – In addition to protein, this tasty vegetable has a high content of calcium, potassium and vitamin C. The healthy vegetable contains – 3 grams of protein per 100 grams of broccoli.
Proteins are very important nutrients for our body and we cannot do without them! As a rule, people from industrialised countries like Germany consume enough proteins throughout the day anyway. This is due to the general lifestyle. However, if you place a lot of value on building muscle and want to stimulate your metabolism, you can also reach for a protein bar. Nevertheless, healthy is always better. Look for a balanced and varied diet and products of natural and traceable origin.