Protein is an essential building block for your body. It is used for cells in the skin, organs, and of course muscles. Obviously your body needs carbohydrates and fats to function along with protein, but protein is the most essential of the three if you want to build and maintain muscle size and tone.
So with that in mind, what are the best sources of protein?
By far, manufactured protein options are the best sources of protein. Scientists have learned how to create compounds that includes all of the essential nutrients we need that is also easily digestible by our system. In this category we have whey protein powders, soy protein powders, egg protein powders, and casein protein powders. They are all derived from natural sources but completely engineered which can give them higher biological values than natural occurring sources.
In terms of biological value, the rating system used to rate levels of protein based on how well the body can utilize it, eggs are at the top of the list. They are one of the best sources of protein you can get because a whole egg tops the chart with a 100 BV rating while egg whites are number two with an 88 rating.
Turkey and chicken naturally follow up the egg. Whether this means the egg came first, it is hard to say, however the egg is a better protein source. Chicken and turkey typically rate next on the list with a BV of 78-80. An advantage they have over eggs is that the meat provides a higher amount of protein and less fat in a serving.
This is a broad category between tuna, salmon, crab, squid, and the like. But for the most part they provide a high quality level of protein with little or no fat. In addition they often provide valuable Omega-3 fatty acids that are great for our body and heart health.
Beef such as steaks, hamburgers, and the like are right below fish on the BV scale. One of the primary issues with red meat is the higher level of fat compared to chicken, fish, or turkey. However it is still good to have a variety because red meat is also a great source of zinc and iron along with being one of the best sources of protein.
Milk and cheese along with other dairy foods like yogurt and cottage cheese are fantastic sources of protein, especially in low fat options. The BV value is below red meat but they provide more options in the ways you can consume them and also include valuable things like vitamins A, B, and D
We covered Soy in the manufactured section but that protein is extracted from soy beans. They aren’t the only legumes in this list either as other bean varieties round out the list of best sources of protein. Aside from protein they can be incorporated into a lot of recipes and also provide folate, vitamin A, calcium, and potassium.
The Bottom Line
As you can see from this list there are quite a few great sources of protein. Luckily most are readily available to us, that then allows a person to plan a diet with some variety and flavor as well as providing the protein we need to meet our fitness goals.