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Get Your Protein Naturally

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Protein is often seen as the holy grail of strength and muscle building. There are thousands of articles and entire books dedicated to investigating just how much, and what types, of protein you should be filling your belly with in order to reach your full potential in the eternal struggle against the iron. 

On top of that, there’s a whole industry that’s grown around different types of protein powders, bars, shakes and pills, each promising to give you the ultimate leg-up. But while protein supplements can be useful – especially when you’re in a hurry – whatever happened to the age-old principle of “real food is always best?

Here’s a look at some high protein foods you can easily add into your diet today. They’ll help to keep you moving forward in the gym, even when you’ve run out of whey.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is popular in Central and Eastern European cuisine but is often overlooked in other places. It’s a fairly tasteless grain, prepared quickly with boiling water, much like rice. It also packs a protein punch and has many associated health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol.[1]

Next time you’re preparing a meal, use buckwheat as your base instead of rice, potatoes or pasta. It’ll absorb the flavour of whatever food or sauce you serve it with, and will get you closer to your daily protein target without you even noticing.

Protein per 100g: 13g

Grass-Fed Beef Steaks

Every meat eater knows that a good steak is one of life’s simple pleasures.

What you might not have heard, however, is that grass fed beef has a bunch of benefits over the grain fed variety. It’s got a better Omega 3 profile and more nutritional value in the form of vitamins and minerals[2]. Importantly for strength training, it also contains more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been associated with improved muscle and strength gains among other things.[3]

Needless to say, whatever type of beef your steaks are made of, they’re going to be high in protein.

Protein per 100g: 23g

Eggs

Eggs have had something of a bad rap in recent times, due to the amount of cholesterol they contain. Recent research however, suggests that dietary cholesterol might have no significant effect on your body’s own cholesterol levels, and may well have nothing at all to do with a higher risk of heart disease.[4]

In any case, eggs are high in essential nutrients such as B-vitamins and contain a large dose of protein per serving. Your breakfast omelette can go a long way towards getting you to your strength goals. There’s a reason why Rocky drank raw eggs after all.

Protein per 100g: 13g

Flax Seeds

Flax seeds are pretty much a magic bullet and secret weapon when it comes to adding protein to your diet. These simple seeds are the richest source alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – a plant-based form of Omega 3 fatty acids – in the world. On top of that, they’re also rich in vitamins such as selenium, magnesium, and B1. It goes without saying that they’re full of protein, too.

Ground flax seeds can be soaked and mixed into your porridge or yoghurt, or can be into your health shake. In fact, they can be sprinkled over just about any meal you could imagine.

Protein per 100g: 18g

Almonds

Feel the urge to snack between meals but want to keep your grazing habits healthy? Try a handful of almonds. Studies have found that they reduce snack cravings later in the day[5], and they’re also a great source of fibre, vitamin E, phosphorus, iron, calcium, and magnesium, among other things.

Protein per 100g: 21g

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11592684

[2] http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/Review%20Grassfed%20Beef%202010.pdf

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11340114

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22037012

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24084509

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