Protein-rich diet – what are the real benefits? An expert reveals

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 Protein-rich diet - what are the real benefits? An expert reveals


Those who do a lot of sport or watch their weight often choose a diet that is high in protein. This has many healthy benefits for the body: “Protein is an essential nutrient,” says nutritionist Ulrike Gonder. Protein is made up of amino acids that play an important role in many body functions. “Our immune system alone consists of around one and a half kilograms of protein,” says the expert. Amino acids are also involved in building muscles and strengthening connective tissue. (These 5 mistakes should be avoided with protein shakes)


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Protein makes you feel full

Another advantage of protein is that it is the nutrient that will fill you up the longest. “Protein is great for weight management – especially if it replaces some of the carbohydrates,” says Gonder. A higher proportion of protein in the diet can then also help to improve blood lipids. “Egg and milk protein also contain building blocks that can lower blood pressure.” (Also read: These 5 protein-rich breakfasts will help you lose weight)

Protein is also crucial for building muscle. So that you can build muscles, you first have to set an appropriate stress stimulus. But muscles also need nutrients to grow – and protein is one of the most important of them. “An adequate protein intake is also important for regeneration after high muscle loads in order to repair existing damage,” says the expert. (Proper Technique: This is the Best Way to Grow Your Muscles)

Important: Different types of proteins

Different types of amino acids are necessary for this, so-called essential and non-essential amino acids. (Read more about losing weight with amino acids here) A combination of vegetable and animal protein is ideal, i.e. some egg, milk, meat or fish with all vegetable protein sources and regular consumption of a strong bone or meat broth. The timing of protein intake after exercise is not so important, according to Gonder: “Much more important for building muscle are an adequate amount of protein and training.” (Vegetarian or animal – which proteins are the best?)

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A protein-rich breakfast will fill you up longer

All in all, regardless of a protein diet, it is beneficial to start eating protein at breakfast. “Protein stimulates the metabolism through increased heat generation and is excellent for satiating, so that you eat less during the day than after a high-carbohydrate breakfast,” says the nutritionist. For example, an egg breakfast is significantly longer than a bagel. However, you should not only eat protein for breakfast, but spread it over the entire day. “About 20 grams of protein with each meal can be optimally utilized,” says Gonder. (Power breakfast: start the day full of energy)

A protein-rich breakfast is easy to make. “You can increase the protein content of breakfast with foods that naturally contain significant amounts of high-quality protein,” says Gonder. These foods include, in particular, eggs (twelve percent protein), which can be cooked, eaten as fried eggs, scrambled eggs, omelets, crepe and the like. (The best snack of the summer: protein ice cream!)

Protein-rich diet: Increase protein in breakfast

Those who value whey protein choose quark, whey cheese or other dairy products for breakfast. “They can be used in a variety of ways, from quark or cheese bread to muesli and a simple glass of milk,” says the expert. Cheese provides between 20 percent (soft cheese, camembert) and 35 percent (hard cheese) high-quality protein. Whole milk, curd milk and yoghurt contain three to four percent protein, quark around twelve percent. (Also read: 5 superfoods for head and body)

“You can also eat fish for breakfast,” says Gonder. “Regardless of whether it is rollmops, trout fillet or salmon – it has around 20 percent protein.” The same applies to lean meat, be it chicken, ham, pastrami or roast meats. “Those who prefer vegetable protein sources can also make a nutritious protein muesli with nuts,” says the expert. Almonds contain around 25 percent protein, hazelnuts 12 percent, cashews 17, sunflower seeds 21, chia and flax seeds 25 and oatmeal 13 percent protein. (Warning: These three breakfast mistakes will ruin your figure)

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