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Pass the Protein, Please

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Pass the Protein, Please

Eating enough protein is essential to good health. Protein plays an important role in countless body systems, including maintaining strong muscles and bones, nerves, blood vessels, skin, digestion, and healing.

Meat and dairy products have long been recognized as rich sources of protein, but they are far from the only ones. If you’re trying to limit your consumption of meat and dairy products, or cut them out completely, there are many other delicious and nutritious natural sources of dietary protein.

Here’s a look at some categories of protein-rich foods, along with a handy reference guide detailing how many grams of protein are contained in one cup of specific foods.

Beans and other legumes (a type of fruit that generally grows in a seamed “pod”) are one of the best sources of protein around. A single cup of edamame, or green soybeans, yields 22 grams of protein, and many bean varieties aren’t far behind. Adding beans, lentils, or peas to recipes is a great way to boost your protein intake.

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Black beans: 15
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans): 15
Cowpeas (Blackeye Peas): 14
Edamame (Soybeans): 22
Great northern beans: 15
Kidney beans: 15
Lentils: 18
Lima beans: 15
Navy beans: 15
Peanuts: 25
Peas: 16
Pinto beans: 12
White beans: 19

Hearty whole grains, such as oats, barley, and bulgur are another excellent source of protein. You can boost your protein levels simply by choosing breads and cereals made from these whole grains, rather than white flour.

Barley: 19
Brown rice: 5
Buckwheat flour: 15
Bulgur: 17
Corn: 5
Cornmeal: 12
Oat bran: 16
Oatmeal: 6
Quinoa: 9
Wheat flour: 13

Nuts are a delicious and nutritious snack for at home or on the go. Bake them into your desserts, put them in your breakfast cereal, or keep a snack baggie of your favorite nuts in your car or office. Though they are one of nature’s best sources of protein, nuts are also very high in calories and fat (though these are “good” unsaturated fats). The following protein values are for one cup, but a serving of nuts, in most cases, should be kept to 1/4 cup or less.

Almonds: 32
Brazils nuts: 14
Cashews: 20
Hazelnut: 14
Peanuts (technically a legume): 25
Pecans: 9
Pine nuts: 14
Pistachios: 10
Sunflower seeds: 24
Walnuts: 6

In general, vegetables aren’t the best source of protein. Instead, they provide other types of nutrients, including a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Even so, there is protein in most vegetables, and some more than others. The following are a few of the better vegetable sources.

Artichoke Hearts: 5
Broccoli: 5
Spinach: 4

Processed foods are generally not the best choice for meeting nutritional needs. Everything our bodies need to thrive can be gotten from simple, natural food sources. While the following items don’t grow on a tree or sprout from the ground, they are natural, and made from healthy, whole ingredients. Many vegetarians and others enjoy adding “meat substitutes” such as tempeh, seitan, tofu, and textured vegetable protein into their meal rotation not only because they contain high levels of protein, but also because they are an easy way to add texture and bulk to meatless recipes.

Seitan: 75
Soy milk: 7
Tempeh: 41
Textured Vegetable Protein: 16
Tofu: 20

Bon appetit!

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1 Toni Russell { 01.20.15 at 3:02 pm }

I would also like to know what i can plant now in north Carolina my garden only has leeks in it now for some reason my collards died

2 Toni Russell { 01.20.15 at 2:59 pm }

I would like to get this magazine in the mail”snail” would that be possible? If so please snail-mail me a subscription form @ po box 353 cedar falls nc 27230

3 Jayla SunBird { 12.27.11 at 12:53 pm }

I never tire of reading stuff like this. Just the reading is satisfying but the contents actually is as valuable as gold. Getting Farmers Almanac every is hereditary for me; my elders used to sit around the heater and discuss items as if they had a really great novel. Neighbors and they founf some of everything they considered important, recipes, medicines and mailorder items as well as puzzles, games and childrearing aids. It’s still just as interesting with the Good Health items. I must have my almanac!

4 Frutero { 10.13.10 at 8:49 pm }

To make a complete protein, it’s useful to combine grain with pulse(legume): beans or blackeyed peas with rice, garbanzos with wheat, and plain old succotash are examples. Hispanic, Asian, Southern, and Southwestern cuisines all offer many variations. Locally (Upper Florida), sorghum is the easiest to grow, if troublesome to thresh, and it’s even perennial. It can be steamed young like niblets, ground for cornmeal-type flour when hard, or, with some varieties, popped. Sugar sorghum can be juiced and boiled for syrup, and you can grow enough in a small plot for a moderate family. I’d like to see some sorghum articles here- this grain is uner-appreciated.

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