Heart Healthy Sources of Protein for a Strong Diet

Dec 8 • 2014
5 Super Foods

Getting the right amount of protein in your diet is extremely important, but it is crucial to choose the right kinds of protein as well. While proteins can be heart healthy, it is important to eat the right amount of different types. Several studies have shown that the risk of having a stroke or heart attack is reduced if you choose to replace high-fat meats with heart-healthy options like fish, chicken, nuts, and beans. Additionally, eating large amounts of red meat can increase your risk for coronary heart disease.

Fish is a great source of lean protein and has been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease. It is recommended that adults eat one three- to six-ounce portion each week. Tuna and salmon are two of the best options. Tuna provides your body with lean protein, omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, selenium, and vitamins D and B12. Salmon is a great choice for maintaining heart health because of the omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, and vitamins D, B12, and B6. You can give your body close to the same amount of protein as a serving red meat without the added fat.

Another great low-fat protein source is poultry. Eating chicken or turkey is associated with a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease than when consuming red meat. Remember to still choose carefully and be sure you’re getting the low fat options – go for skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken wings. Remove visible fat and skin when preparing the chicken yourself.

Many dairy products also have protein, but it is important to be aware of the high fat content. Try to choose low fat versions of things like yogurt, milk, sour cream, and cheese. Additionally, go with egg whites instead of the entire egg with yolk to get tons of healthy protein without the fat.

Nuts are one of the healthiest protein choices you can make and they are often forgotten. Grab walnuts, cashews, pecans, and peanuts when looking for a quick, healthy snack. Another great choice is legumes like peas, lentils, and beans. They are a great source of protein but have significantly less fat than meat and do not contain any cholesterol.

When crafting your diet, remember that 10 to 30 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from protein. Women should have around 46 grams, while men should have around 56. Choosing lean protein options for your meals is the best choice for your heart.

What are some of your favorite recipes using low-fat proteins? Share them in the comments below.