We are a society obsessed with protein. Thanks to the marketing efforts of gyms and shake companies, we now consider protein as one of the most important nutrients ever placed on the planet. In fact, one of the most commonly asked questions of people in health circles is where they get their protein.
It’s not that protein isn’t important. It is. But so are the hundreds of other nutrients the body requires to operate effectively that are being ignored due to our focus on protein, which ironically, is much easier to get “accidentally” than many other nutrients that are drastically deficient in people today.
So, what are the top sources of protein, and what makes them so special? To make this list the protein content must not only be a significant portion of the food, but also clean and easier to digest. After all, the actual protein content in the food and the actual protein you digest, are two completely different things.
Grass Fed Whey Concentrate
It is vitally important to source whey from raw, grass fed milk, to obtain the majority of its benefits. Grass fed cows are nutritionally superior compared to grain fed, and they contain an impressive amino acid and immune-supportive nutrient profile. It is also important your whey is not in isolate format, as your body can’t assimilate proteins properly in isolated form.
A raw, grass fed whey protein concentrate powder can contain up to 80 percent protein.
Chlorella is recognized as having between 58 and 75 percent protein with a balance of amino acids, including the essential ones that the body can’t manufacture. This protein profile combined with enzymes, probiotics, and phytonutrients makes chlorella a high quality protein source that is easily digestible.
Hemp has shown to be up to 47 percent protein, and contains 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids our body can’t produce, making it one of the few plant based complete protein sources. Hemp also contains an array of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and plant sterols, and is very easy to digest so you can assimilate all that precious protein.
Also called bovine colostrum, this liquid features a chemical structure identical to human colostrum, and is rich in immunoglobulins, or types of protein that fight germs and otherwise promote immune system health. It also contains all essential amino acids.
Depending on how it is collected and processed, dried cow colostrum can contain between 31 and 65 percent protein, and an array of enzymes required for proper digestion.
Known as one of nature’s most complete and balanced foods, bee pollen is cited to be between 25 to 40 percent protein, and contains 22 amino acids which have 5-7 times the amino acids found in equal weights of beef, milk, eggs, or cheese. Add in the incredible enzyme content of bee pollen, and you have a highly digestible form of protein.
Wild Caught Salmon
A wild Atlantic caught salmon contains over 25 percent protein. When these fish are allowed to swim freely (not farmed) and eat their native diet in relatively unpolluted waters, the protein content becomes very high quality. Salmon is also very easy on the digestive system, which enables this source of protein to be better assimilated.
Chia is 21 percent protein and contains all the essential amino acids in proper ratios, so is considered a complete protein. These seeds, when soaked properly, can help hydrate the colon and move toxins out of the gut to create a healthier digestive system that can properly absorb nutrients, including protein.
Grass Fed Beef
Beef is a commonly cited source of quality protein, but to be one that meets the top 10, it has to be sourced outside the conventional methods.
Grass fed beef is around 19% protein, and is superior in nutrients and digestibility compared to its conventional counterpart. While grass fed cattle enjoy the incredible nutrient profile of pasture grass, their counterparts are typically fed genetically modified corn and soy, and other hard to digest grains.
Due to this distinct difference, the assimilation of the high quality proteins in grass fed beef are superior to those in any other conventionally raised method.
Quinoa is 14 percent protein and contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It also contains nutrients that facilitate absorption, like magnesium, zinc, and B-vitamins.
Organic, Free-Range Eggs
A fresh, whole egg (not just the whites) contains about 12% protein. If the chickens who lay these eggs are allowed to eat from pastured land and supplemented with organic food natural to them, then the absorbability of this high quality protein dramatically increases.
There are certainly other forms of quality protein like organic free range chicken, but it did not make this list due to the increased difficulty in digesting this protein, unlike the sources listed above which are generally much easier to assimilate.
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About the author:
Derek Henry took a deadly health challenge that conventional medicine couldn’t solve and self-directed a one-in-a-million health journey that found him happier and healthier than he had been in his entire life. As a result of this rewarding journey, he created Healing the Body and became a well revered holistic health coach who now spends his time writing, coaching, and educating thousands of people each month who want to enjoy similar results.