Protein is an essential nutrient for humans; it is found in the hair, bone, tissues, muscles, and many other parts of the body. It is known as one of the main building blocks and helps our body improve muscle mass, regulate hormones, repair damage and maintain all the growth in our body, etc. People looking to improve these body functions should aim to increase their daily protein intake after consulting an expert. In this article, we will discuss some of the food items that contain a high amount of protein and would help you design a high-protein diet for yourself.

  1. Lentils
  2. Dairy products
  3. Kidney bean
  4. Black chickpea
  5. Soy products
  6. Nuts and seeds
  7. Eggs
  8. Chicken
  9. Fish
  10. Green pea
  11. Oats

Lentils are a staple food in the Indian kitchen. This food group is commonly used as a plant protein. As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of lentils contains 8-9 grams of protein. Pigeon pea (arhar dal), green gram (moong dal), split horse gram (chana dal), split black gram (urad dal), red lentil (masoor dal), etc come in this group. You can have these lentils as soup, dal, curry, vegetable, kofta or as stuffing in your bread.

Dairy products are a major part of the Indian diet. This group contains milk, curd/yogurt, cottage cheese, buttermilk, etc. One cup of whole fat milk contains 8 grams of protein. Dairy products are also rich sources of energy, fat, calcium and phosphorus. If you are planning to lose weight, plan your meals with low-fat milk options. This food group can be consumed as milkshakes, lassi, raita, tikkis, masala buttermilk, kheer, cold coffee, curries, etc.

Kidney bean or rajma makes a very famous dish in India. As per the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of kidney beans contains 24 grams of protein. Kidney beans are also rich in calories, carbohydrates, iron, magnesium, potassium and fiber. It can be cooked in many delicious ways, including curries, kebabs and salads.

Black chickpea is commonly known as kala chana. Kala chana and jaggery is one of the oldest immunity booster remedies. Black chickpea is also high in fiber and low in glycemic index, which can help you regulate your blood sugar, control your lipid levels and weight and relieve constipation. About 100 grams of horse gram contains 19 grams of protein. You can have it roasted or as sprouts, kebabs, in curries, etc.

Soya products are very famous amongst lactose-intolerant vegetarians. About 100 grams of soybean contains almost 40 grams of protein. Some evidence suggests that phytoestrogens present in it can exacerbate hormonal problems; so before having it on a regular basis, you should consult your doctor. Once you have the green light, you can have soy milk, tofu or whole soybeans in your daily diet.

Nuts are rich sources of protein as well as energy, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids and vitamin E, which can help you to maintain healthy body functions.

In this food group, you can have almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachio, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, etc. You can add these foods in your shakes, curries, salads or can even have them as a snack.

About 100 grams of eggs contains 12 grams of protein. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, folate, choline, etc, all of which helps our body function properly. For the total benefit of this food, try to add whole eggs into your diet. You can have this superfood as a poached, scrambled, in a curry, boiled or sunny-side-up.

Chicken is one of the best sources of protein for someone who eats meat. Chicken is known for its high biological value protein, which completely absorbs in our body. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of chicken contains almost 0 grams of carbs and 27 grams of protein. Apart from protein, chicken also contains vitamin B group, calcium, zinc, selenium, omega 3 fatty acids, etc. You can have it in a wide variety of ways, from butter chicken and soups to kebabs and salads.

As per the U.S. department of agriculture, 100 grams of fish contains almost 20 grams of protein. Fish is also a good source of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic and neurotrophic properties. Rawas (Indian salmon), bangda (Indian mackerel), surmai (king mackerel), rani (pink perch), hilsa (ilish) are the types of fish commonly found in India. You can have them as per the availability. It can be eaten as a curry, baked, pan-fried, broiled or grilled.

(Read more: Best fish to eat in India)

Green pea is commonly used in Indian cooking to improve the colour and taste of the food. About 100 grams of green peas contains 5 grams of protein. Besides protein, it also contains a good amount of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. You can have green peas as ghughari (snack), ghughra (dessert), matar paneer, nimona (dal), curry and a green pea chaat as well.

Most cereals are rich in carbohydrates and fiber and low in protein but oats is an exception as it contains 12.5 grams of protein in 100 grams, which makes it a perfect breakfast cereal. Processed and packaged oats available in the market can be harmful to your health though. When buying oats, try to avoid instant varieties and choose either rolled or steel-cut oats for the total health benefit. You can use it in your porridge, cheela, upma, pongal or in your cutlet as a binder.

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