Protein. One of the most crucial macronutrients our bodies need to survive. It’s responsible for creating essential substances like neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones. However, not all protein was created equal. This is a reality that many have come to face with when discussing this marvelous macromolecule. The makeup of dietary protein differs when it comes to certain foods, some being better, and some worse. Some sources of protein leaves you high and dry, not giving you some of the proper nutrients you need. So what is a good source of protein? In today’s article, I’ll explain what exactly makes up a quality source of protein, and where to find it.
Complete vs. Incomplete Protein
To find out if a protein source is good in quality, it’s always important to check out what it’s made of. What’s a protein made of? They’re made up of building blocks called amino acids. In total, there’s about 20, or 21 according to some people, amino acids that makeup us humans. There are 11 that we humans can produce on our own, while the other 9 must be consumed through dietary protein. We need all 20 to survive, and we’re not complete without the last 9 essential amino acids. Which is why proteins that contain the 9 essential amino acids are considered complete proteins.
Foods that contain all 9 are most of the animal-based protein. We got our reliable sources like chicken, fish, steak, eggs, and dairy, that’ll surely get the job done. Not to say plant-based protein can’t provide you as a complete protein, they too can give amino acids like its animal rival. However, much of their protein can only add up to 9 amino acids if mixed in with another plant protein. For this reason, a lot of plant-based powders are considered incomplete proteins. A popular plant protein people eat are peas. By themselves, they cannot accumulate to a complete protein but mixed with other sources like brown rice or soy can get the job done.
A protein’s amino acid can be a topic in it of its own, and could potentially take-up the rest of this article. If you’d like to know more about amino acids, I’ll leave you a link to this article I wrote that further explains them. They reach out to many parts throughout your body, from head to toe.
Where To Find High-Quality Protein
Now that you know what to look for in quality protein, it’s good to know where exactly to find it when out buying. There are foods like mentioned above that are either animal-based or plant-based that can provide you with all your amino acids. Here’s a shortlist of just some of the high-quality protein that exists out there.
There’s plenty more out there if you’d like a longer list, click here where I list even more sources of protein. Something else to note about these foods is their digestibility factor. When your bodies consume these foods, they’re easy for your stomach to break down and absorb their nutrients. They’re easily picked apart for their amino acids and absorbed into the body for usage. There’s one more source that I didn’t mention here that should not be left out this list, I think you can guess what that source is.
The Infamous Protein Powder
As one of the most controversial products that exist in today’s fitness industry, protein powder is a product consumed by many and hated by others. For an article that talks about “what is a good source of protein,” leaving out the protein supplement is impossible. Protein powders come in all different shapes and sizes. The most common protein shake out there is undoubtedly whey protein. It’s consumed by a lot of the population, especially lifters, athletes, bodybuilders, and even ordinary individuals like you and me.
Then we have very known protein powders, but just not as known as whey protein. Here we have our caseins and our vegan protein powders. If you didn’t know, casein is whey’s brother, it’s neglected, little brother. I consider them brothers since they come from the same source; milk. When milk is being made into cheese, a solid and a liquid are produced, cheese being the solid, and whey/casein the liquid. There are a lot of reasons why casein isn’t as popular as whey, the reason for that here. Vegan protein powder shouldn’t be neglected either. They hold strong capabilities. They’re entirely separate from whey and casein for one reason; there’s no milk involved.
Plant-based protein like peas, brown rice, hemp, and soy are utilized to form a protein powder that matched the potential of a whey protein. Not only does it match the amount of protein whey has, but it holds other advantages also. The powder is hypoallergenic and easily digestible, things whey needs to work on as vegan powder has in the bag. However, the controversial aspects of protein powders is shown in whey, casein, and vegan powders alike.
A study analyzing the properties of protein powders showed that manufactures were actually lying about some of their ingredients. Researches found traces of toxic substances inside the container, things like lead and arsenic. Keep in mind that arsenic is a known causer of illnesses like cancer and lung disease, not what you want. Not only did some companies lie about their ingredients, but about the protein amount per scoop too. Things to look out for when buying a protein supplement from a lesser-known manufacturer.
In conclusion, now you know what is a good source of protein. You know that there do exist many out there, such as chicken, steak, egg, fish, and peas. Them being complete proteins make sure you’re getting all your amino acids with an easy digestion for your stomach. Let’s not forget about protein powders, which can be a blessing for many, but a curse for some. If you don’t feel like doing your research, stick to whole foods for your protein, but if you know what you’re getting yourself into, have a shot at a protein powder. If you want to have a look at my favorite protein powder, click here, made from one of the most trusted companies out there.
Got any questions? Leave them down below, along with any comments you may have!