What is Protein? Types of Protein
Protein is one of the essential food ingredients. Proteins are made up of amino acids. Amino acids (22 amino acids in all) are essential for building, maintaining and repairing muscles and are said to be the building blocks of our body.
Types of Protein Food
There are two types of proteins. Some foods like e.g. dairy products, meat, fish and eggs contain sufficient amounts of all the essential amino acids, are known as first class proteins. Second class proteins contain only some of the essential amino acids. Vegetable proteins belong to second class.
Our body cannot make 9 of the 22 common amino acids, so they must be obtained via food. All these nine amino acids are essential for our body to make protein.
We can get these amino acids from our diet. Note that when we talk about the protein content of a food, we mean the amino acids that make protein in our body.
Function of protein in our body
Protein is essential for us for various functions:
- Growth of body tissue
- Repair of body tissue
- Red blood cells
- Proper functioning of antibodies that resist infection
- Regulation of enzymes and hormones
How Much Protein You Need?
How much protein do we need daily?
According to the RDA recommendations, our daily protein requirement is of 0.8 to 1.0 gram of protein for every kilogram of our body weight (or about 0.36 to 0.45 gram of protein per pound that you weigh) daily. Roughly, the protein requirement is about 10-15% of calories coming from protein daily.
The protein requirements for sport athletes like runners, cyclists and triathletes are from 25 to 50% more (0.5 to 0.72 gram of protein per pound of body weight) than for non active individuals.
If your body weight = 55 kg and
your calorie requirement = 2200 calories per day, then
your protein requirement = 55 kg x 1 gram/kg = 55 gram.
Since 1 gram of protein provides 4 calories,
55 gram of protein x 4 calories/gram of protein
= 220 calories from protein per day. or
(220/2200) x 100 = 10% of calories from protein.
Loss of body protein can occur because of stress, surgery, hemorrhage, wounds or prolonged illness and also heavy exercise. Protein deficiency may affect growth and tissue development, especially the hair, nail, skin and muscle tone.
Protein Foods for Vegetarians
It is generally said that a vegetarian or vegan diet is low in protein. See the picture on left for a list of vegetarian protein foods. The fact is that pulses (peas, beans and lentils), nuts, seeds and grains are maximum vegetarian protein foods.
The vegetarians can meet their requirement of protein easily if they eat a variety of foods with protein sources in amounts providing them enough calories to maintain their weight. Almost all vegetables, beans, grains, rice, tofu,nuts and seeds are protein rich, so these are the best protein sources which are quickly absorbed by the body. Note that protein in pulses is 27% of calories, in nuts and seeds 13% and in grains 12%. On the other hand, food like fruits, sugars, fats and alcohol are low in protein.
Protein Rich Foods
The list of protein foods includes meat, poultry and fish, eggs, dairy products, seeds and nuts, beans and lentils, grains like wheat, rice, barley and corn, and soy products. These foods are generally recommended for athletes and body builders for muscle gain and growth in their weight gain diet.
Eggs, milk, spinach, soybean, quinoa, meat, fish, whole grains, rice, beans, legumes, corn, oats, peas and peanut butter are good protein sources.
|Protein Food|| Weight |
|Alfalfa seeds, sprouted, raw||33||1 cup||1.32|
|Artichokes, (globe or French), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||120||1 medium||4.18|
|Asparagus, canned, drained solids||72||4 spears||1.54|
|Asparagus, cooked, boiled, drained||60||4 spears||1.55|
|Asparagus, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||180||1 cup||5.31|
|Avocados, raw, California||28.35||1 oz||0.60|
|Avocados, raw, Florida||28.35||1 oz||0.45|
|Beans, baked, canned, plain or vegetarian||254||1 cup||12.17|
|Beans, baked, canned, with pork and tomato sauce||253||1 cup||13.05|
|Beans, black, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt||172||1 cup||15.24|
|Beans, Cowpeas (Blackeyed), immature seeds, boiled, without salt||165||1 cup||5.23|
|Beans, Cowpeas (blackeyed), immature seeds, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||170||1 cup||14.43|
|Beans, Cowpeas, common (blackeyes, crowder, southern), mature seeds,||172||1 cup||13.30|
|Beans, Rajmah recipe, red, mature seeds, canned||256||1 cup||13.44|
|Beans, Kidney beans, red, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt||177||1 cup||15.35|
|Beans, Lima beans, large, mature seeds, canned||241||1 cup||11.88|
|Beans, Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt||188||1 cup||14.66|
|Beans, Mung beans, mature seeds, sprouted, cooked, boiled, without salt||124||1 cup||2.52|
|Beans, Mung beans, mature seeds, sprouted, raw||104||1 cup||3.16|
|Beans, Navy beans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt||182||1 cup||15.83|
|Beans, Pinto beans, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt||171||1 cup||14.04|
|Soybeans, mature cooked, boiled, without salt||180||1 cup||22.23|
|Beans, Snap beans, green, canned, regular pack, drained solids||135||1 cup||1.55|
|Beans, Snap beans, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||125||1 cup||2.36|
|Beans, White beans, mature seeds, canned||262||1 cup||19.02|
|Beet greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||144||1 cup||3.70|
|Beets, canned, drained solids||170||1 cup||1.55|
|Broccoli, raw||88||1 cup||2.62|
|Broccoli, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||156||1 cup||4.65|
|Beets, cooked, boiled, drained||170||1 cup||2.86|
|Beets, cooked, boiled, drained||50||1 beet||0.84|
|Cabbage, Chinese (pak-choi), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||170||1 cup||2.65|
|Cabbage, Chinese (pe-tsai), cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||119||1 cup||1.79|
|Cabbage, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||150||1 cup||1.53|
|Cabbage, raw||70||1 cup||1.01|
|Cabbage, red, raw||70||1 cup||0.97|
|Carrots, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||156||1 cup||1.70|
|Carrots, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||146||1 cup||1.74|
|Carrots, raw||110||1 cup||1.13|
|Cauliflower, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||124||1 cup||2.28|
|Cauliflower, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||180||1 cup||2.90|
|Cauliflower, raw||100||1 cup||1.98|
|Celery, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||150||1 cup||1.25|
|Celery, raw||120||1 cup||0.90|
|Corn, sweet, white, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||77||1 ear||2.56|
|Corn, sweet, yellow, canned, vacuum pack, regular pack||210||1 cup||5.06|
|Corn, sweet, yellow, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||77||1 ear||2.56|
|Corn, sweet, yellow, frozen, kernels cut off cob, boiled, drained, without salt||164||1 cup||4.51|
|Corn, sweet, yellow, frozen, kernels on cob, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||63||1 ear||1.96|
|Cucumber, peeled, raw||119||1 cup||0.68|
|Cucumber, with peel, raw||104||1 cup||0.72|
|Dandelion greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||105||1 cup||2.10|
|Endive, raw||50||1 cup||0.63|
|Garlic, raw||3||1 clove||0.19|
|Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt||198||1 cup||17.86|
|Lettuce, cos or romaine, raw||56||1 cup||0.91|
|Lettuce, iceberg (includes crisphead types), raw||55||1 cup||0.56|
|Lettuce, looseleaf, raw||56||1 cup||0.73|
|Mushrooms, canned, drained solids||156||1 cup||2.92|
|Mushrooms, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||156||1 cup||3.39|
|Mushrooms, raw||70||1 cup||2.03|
|Mustard greens, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||140||1 cup||3.16|
|Okra, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||160||1 cup||2.99|
|Okra, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||184||1 cup||3.83|
|Olives, ripe, canned (small-extra large)||22||5 large||0.18|
|Onions, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||210||1 cup||2.86|
|Onions, dehydrated flakes||5||1 tbsp||0.45|
|Onions, raw||110||1 whole||1.28|
|Onions, spring or scallions (includes tops and bulb), raw||100||1 cup||1.83|
|Parsley, raw||10||10 sprigs||0.30|
|Parsnips, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||156||1 cup||2.06|
|Peas, edible-podded, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||160||1 cup||5.23|
|Peas, edible-podded, frozen, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||160||1 cup||5.60|
|Peas, green, canned, regular pack, drained solids||170||1 cup||7.51|
|Peppers, hot chili, green, raw||45||1 pepper||0.90|
|Peppers, hot chili, red, raw||45||1 pepper||0.90|
|Peppers, sweet, green, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||136||1 cup||1.25|
|Peppers, sweet, green, raw||119||1 pepper||1.06|
|Peppers, sweet, red, raw||119||1 pepper||1.06|
|Potato, baked, flesh and skin, without salt||202||1 potato||5.05|
|Potatoes, baked, flesh, without salt||156||1 potato||3.06|
|Potatoes, boiled, cooked in skin, flesh, without salt||136||1 potato||2.54|
|Potatoes, boiled, cooked without skin, flesh, without salt||135||1 potato||2.31|
|Potatoes, hashed brown, home-prepared||156||1 cup||3.78|
|Pumpkin, canned, without salt||245||1 cup||2.70|
|Pumpkin, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||245||1 cup||1.76|
|Radishes, raw||4.5||1 radish||0.03|
|Spinach, canned, drained solids||214||1 cup||6.01|
|Spinach, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||180||1 cup||5.35|
|Spinach, frozen, chopped or leaf, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||190||1 cup||5.97|
|Spinach, raw||30||1 cup||0.86|
|Squash, summer, all varieties, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt||180||1 cup||1.64|
|Squash, summer, all varieties, raw||113||1 cup||1.33|
|Squash, winter, all varieties, cooked, baked, without salt||205||1 cup||1.82|
|Squash, winter, butternut, frozen, cooked, boiled, without salt||240||1 cup||2.95|
|Sweet potato, canned, vacuum pack||255||1 cup||4.21|
|Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, without salt||146||1 potato||2.51|
|Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without skin, without salt||156||1 potato||2.57|
|Tomatoes, red, ripe, canned, stewed||255||1 cup||2.42|
|Tomatoes, red, ripe, canned, whole, regular pack||240||1 cup||2.21|
|Tomatoes, red, ripe, raw, year round average||180||1 cup||1.53|
|Tomatoes, sun-dried||2||1 piece||0.28|
|Tomatoes, sun-dried, packed in oil, drained||3||1 piece||0.15|
|Watermelon, raw||286||1 wedge||1.77|
Note that soybean foods contain higher amount of proten than other beans and lentils.
Other High Protein Vegetarian Food
|Protein Food|| Weight |
|Buckwheat flour, whole-groat||120||1 cup||15.14|
|Buckwheat groats, roasted, cooked||168||1 cup||5.68|
|Bulgur, cooked||182||1 cup||5.61|
|Bulgur, dry||138||1 cup||11.70|
|Cornmeal, degermed, enriched, yellow||140||1 cup||17.21|
|Cornmeal, whole-grain, yellow||122||1 cup||9.91|
|Noodles, chinese, chow mein||45||1 cup||3.77|
|Oat bran, cooked||219||1 cup||7.03|
|Oat bran, raw||94||1 cup||16.26|
|Peanut butter, smooth style, with salt||16||1 tbsp||4.03|
|Quinoa, cooked||-||1 cup||11|
|Rice, brown, long-grain, cooked||125||195||5.03|
|Rice, white, long-grain, regular, cooked||158||195||4.25|
|Spaghetti, cooked, enriched, without added salt||140||1 cup||6.68|
|Spaghetti, whole-wheat, cooked||140||1 cup||7.46|
|Tofu, firm, prepared with calcium sulfate and magnesium chloride||81||1/4 block||6.51|
|Wheat flour, white, all-purpose, enriched, bleached||125||1 cup||12.91|
|Wheat flour, whole-grain||125||1 cup||16.44|
|Wheat flour, white, bread, enriched||125||137||16.41|
|Whole wheat bread||2 slices||2 slices||5|
|Veggie burger||1 patty||1 patty||5-24|
Source: USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15
From the above table you can chose high protein food. Notice that beans, soybean, wheat flour and oat bran are some of the best proten foods. Many of the high protein meals, snacks, shakes, bars, powders, drinks, etc. contain these foods.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 25
www.ars.usda.gov/ SP2UserFiles/Place/ 12354500/Data/ SR25/ nutrlist/sr25a203.pdf
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15
www.nal.usda.gov/ fnic/foodcomp/ Data/SR15/sr15.html
- Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs): Estimated Average Requirements. Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine.
www.iom.edu/ Activities/Nutrition/ SummaryDRIs/
Give Your Comments: You can add your comments on this article.
Comments to date: 14. Page 1 of 1.
Sohan Singh, IP: 188.8.131.52 8:55am on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016
Very informative and helpful article. It would be far better and useful if hindi version of this is published for Indian people.
Rajendra bhalerao, IP: 184.108.40.206 1:30am on Sunday, June 14th, 2015
I have very low sperms, please provide protein list.
Judy Sears, IP: 220.127.116.11 1:13pm on Friday, February 28th, 2014
Very informative article. Thank you
raghavender, IP: 18.104.22.168 3:53am on Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
Its good better to give list in telugu version for telugu people.
amita, IP: 22.214.171.124 1:40am on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Thanks for your Good protein source, I am pregnant lady and I want to good health of my baby so I want to know what should me eat good for good development and sharp brain for my baby. Please send some more tips in Hindi Language. Thanks
Joyce Sumer, IP: 126.96.36.199 8:39am on Monday, July 29th, 2013
This list has been a real gem for my students in my Moral Science/Healthy Living class. Thank You
Shakil ahmad, IP: 188.8.131.52 1:56pm on Thursday, July 25th, 2013
Full of information, nice one.
Michael Kris V. Panem, IP: 184.108.40.206 5:56am on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Is this protein good in building body tissues without losing weight? What protein food that is good for belly fat reducers?
G. Jain, IP: 220.127.116.11 12:20am on Friday, October 19th, 2012
This information on protein foods is very useful, especually for vegetarians. Thanks.
Joyce Meyers, IP: 18.104.22.168 7:28am on Friday, October 12th, 2012
Besides eggs and oatmeal what are some other excellent sources of protein for breakfast. My diabetic friend is getting tired of eating turkey sausage and small links do not seem to be enough protein intake with sugar. He is a diabetic and blood sugar drops very low 2 hours after eating.
Admin: Diabetics can eat skim or fat free yogurt, whole-wheat pita bread, low carb tortillas, apple, banana, grapes, etc. in the breakfast. Avocado slices, capsicum or bell pepper, onions and low fat cheese can be used with bread to make sandwiches. Baked potato with low fat cheese can be a good breakfast idea for diabetics.
Shahbaz, IP: 22.214.171.124 10:25am on Friday, September 28th, 2012
Its very useful to choose good diet for bodybuildig, thanks for sharing this precious information.
kjgupta, IP: 126.96.36.199 4:26am on Thursday, September 13th, 2012
I am CKD patient - my bun is 36.6 &creatinine level is 3.4, other things remain normal but both bun & cr varries between 30 to 36 & 3 to 3.7 respectively. My bp & diabetes are normal. I am on medicine. Please advice me about diet to be taken.
Deb Stout, IP: 188.8.131.52 3:24am on Saturday, September 8th, 2012
This list has been invaluable to the students in my Nutrition/Healthy Cooking class... Thank You.
Nitin, IP: 184.108.40.206 1:28am on Thursday, September 6th, 2012
This article has been a good help to know about the details on protein. Thanks!