Everyone knows that protein is the fundamental building block of muscle. Amino acids in the foods that we eat directly form the muscle mass that we spend so much time and hard work developing. If I look at common animal protein sources that are staples in any bodybuilding and fitness diet, the question then is why these specific proteins are particularly advantageous.
Beef and bison offer a great combination of protein and saturated fats. Saturated fat is only obtained in the diet from meats and coconut oil. New research has surfaced that calls into question the bad rep that saturated fats have related to heart disease. We now know that these fats can increase cholesterol levels in the body and this can act as a precursor to testosterone. However, it should be noted that quality here is key. Try not to eat excessive amounts of fat and try to eat grass-fed meats, which contain more healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Eggs are one of the highest biological value sources of protein we can consume. The yolk of the egg houses essential vitamins, minerals, and fats, while the protein (albumin) is found in the white. Another great source of cholesterol, egg yolks may assist in the production of testosterone. After pasteurization, liquid whites can also be consumed raw. All of this goodness is packed into the most cost-effective protein source on the list!
Poultry is one of the leanest types of protein available, with dark meat being the most beneficial! Dark meat contains much more iron, zinc, and folate than white meat. Turkey is another good source of lean protein.
White fish and fatty fish are essential in the muscle builder’s diet for many reasons. White fish (cod, haddock, tilapia, and pollock) are low-fat options that allow for quick absorption following a workout. Cold-water fatty fish (salmon, trout, and sardines) provide a natural source of omega-3 fatty acids, which we often supplement. Look for wild-caught fish and select the appropriate type of fish for the meal you are planning.
When it comes down to it, there is more to protein than “meats” the eye. Beef/bison, eggs, poultry, and fish are protein powerhouses and have additional benefits that will give you a leg up in your meal planning and overall fitness strategy.
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