10 great alternative sources of protein

by

Most people think about beef or chicken when the word protein is mentioned. However, there are many alternative sources of protein that can provide one with holistic and balanced diet.

Almonds

(photo: .healthpromoting)

Almonds are highly anti-inflammatory. They are also a great source for healthy fats, fiber and protein. To make almonds easier to digest, soak them overnight and peel the skins. Nuts aren’t a complete protein since they don’t have a full range of amino acids but they serve as a great addition to a healthy diet.

Wild Fish

Most nutritionists would say that fish is healthy, but not all fish is equal. The origin matters a lot. Farmed fish is the same as a caged chicken. Farmed fish are not normally fed a natural diet, and could carry diseases. They also don’t have as many desirable omega-3s, and might be full of antibiotics and dioxin. Wild is the way to go if you consume fish on a regular basis.

Free Range Eggs

Eggs are a rich source of thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acids, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E, and phosphorus. Eggs can be a great easy-to-digest food if chickens had a healthy diet, were cage-free, and got to run around outside. Whole eggs are also much more nutrient dense than egg whites, since egg yolks contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can only rely on the health benefit of eggs if you are buying organic ones.

Chia Seeds

This miracle food offers complete protein that’s mildly anti-inflammatory, easy to digest and easy to cook with. Chia seeds are a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese. Chia seed pudding can be a great easy-to-make breakfast option or a healthy fiber and protein-rich snack.

Whey Powder

Whey protein is the second most abundant protein derived from milk (casein is the most abundant milk protein). It’s found mainly in meal-replacement powders, protein powders, and ready-to-consume drinks. Whey contains all of the essential amino acids and is particularly high in the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine) and glutamine (an immune-boosting amino acid).

Lentils

Black Beluga Lentils

Lentils are quite popular in Egyptian cuisine. While they’re not a complete protein, lentils are a great source of amino acids, healthy carbs, and filling fiber. When combined with grains, they form a complete protein. They will keep hunger at bay and are easier to digest than larger beans.

Cottage Cheese and Greek Yoghurt

If you aren’t sensitive to dairy, plain cottage cheese and Greek yogurt can be a good addition to a balanced diet. Both are pretty low in sugar, have a good amount of protein and healthy fats. Choose organic to avoid hormones, chemicals and hidden antibiotics. If you have any symptoms of dairy intolerance, it’s best to do an elimination diet or get your blood tested at a qualified center.

 Tempeh

Tempeh is made out of fermented soy and can be a great source of clean protein for vegans if they don’t have soy sensitivity. Make sure it is organic and not genetically modified. It has been shown that soy protein is comparable in digestibility to other high-quality protein sources such as meat, milk, fish and egg. Avoid processed “fake” soy meats, and don’t rely on soy alone for your protein.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a complete protein pseudo-grain, often called a ‘super grain’. It tastes great, is very versatile and easy to cook, even for kitchen newbies. Buckwheat is another grain (seed) that is a complete protein and can be substituted for quinoa.

Hemp Seed

Sixty-five percent of the total protein content of hemp seed comes from the globular protein edestin which is easily digested, absorbed, and utilised by the human body. It’s also hypoallergenic. Hemp contains about 30 percent protein.