Protein from foods is necessary for cell regeneration, but some protein foods are not considered healthy foods to eat. Animal protein, for instance, can contribute to high levels of cholesterol associated with heart disease. In addition, some sources of animal protein can lead to obesity. The best natural protein foods to eat are foods that are low in fat or fat-free and foods that are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
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The best natural protein foods in the meat category are meats that have little or no fat on them. Lean meat choices include eye round steak, top round steak, bottom round steak, round tip, top loin, top sirloin, chuck shoulder and arm roasts, pork loin, pork tenderloin, center loin, ham and chopped meat that is 90 percent lean or higher. Chicken without the skin and with all fat removed is best, as is turkey without skin or fat.
Fish and Seafood
Contrary to popular belief, shellfish such as clams, oysters, scallops and mussels do not have a high cholesterol content, but they are high in protein. Many fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids as well. Canned salmon, smelts and sardines also supply calcium. Fresh fish also contains minerals and certain vitamins, and it has a low fat and sodium content.
Due to the methylmercury content of certain fish and the risk of damage to the nervous system of a fetus when these fish are consumed by the mother, the best natural protein fish foods for a pregnant woman to eat are fish that contain less methylmercury than others. These foods include shrimp, tuna (canned light), salmon, pollock and catfish.
Beans and Peas
Beans and peas are a healthy natural protein food because they contain zero cholesterol and they have a very low fat content. Some good bean choices are adzuki beans, black beans, great northern beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, garbanzo beans, lima beans, mung beans, cowpeas, split peas and chickpeas.
Yogurt, milk and cheese are all good natural sources of protein, but these foods are best when they are either fat-free or low-fat. Kefir is also one of the best natural protein foods to consume. Eggs are another choice, but the white of the egg is the best part of the egg to eat due to its zero cholesterol content.