When it comes to health, fitness, and general well-being, one thing that many people are guilty of, is consuming large quantities of unhealthy foods, which in turn lead to weight gain and numerous other health conditions in the process. When it comes to foods which can be detrimental to our health, a number of studies have now revealed that carbohydrates can actually be pretty harmful, which is one of the main reasons why so many people are now following high protein, low carbohydrate diets and are choosing to virtually cut all carbs out of their diets entirely. Carbohydrates can be classed as complex, and simple, both of which are quickly broken down by the body, and converted into glucose (sugar) to be used as energy. The problem with carbohydrates, is that they can lead to unstable blood sugar levels, which can then cause spikes in insulin and other hormones, which contribute towards weight gain, and in some instances, can lead to insulin resistance, or diabetes. Rather than carbohydrates, more and more people are consuming high protein foods instead, which also happen to be ideal for building lean muscle mass. Here's a look at four of the best foods.
Eggs – Eggs are actually incredibly healthy high protein foods, that a lot of people tend to avoid, or at least only consume half of, as they often remove the yolk. Whilst it's true that the yolk does contain fat and cholesterol, the fats and cholesterol that are found in the yolk are both very healthy and good for you, and providing you don't consume too many each day, will do you no harm in the slightest. Eggs are rich in protein, containing around 5 – 6 grams of protein per egg, as well as countless amino acids. In fact, eggs are the only whole food available which can boast a complete essential, and non-essential, amino acid profile. Eggs also contain vitamins and minerals and as you're probably aware, are incredibly versatile. Always opt for free-range/organic eggs, never eggs from caged hens as they are far less nutritional, and they taste appalling as well.
Wild salmon – If possible, always go for wild salmon rather than farmed salmon, because it is more nutritional, and it tastes so much better as well. For anybody following a high protein, low carb diet, wild salmon is absolutely fantastic for so many reasons. To begin with it is naturally high in protein and amino acids, but as well as that, it also contains minerals such as zinc and iron. The main selling point of wild salmon however, is its high omega 3 fatty acid profile. Omega 3 fatty acids promote heart and cardiovascular health, they improve organ function, they boost the metabolism, they strengthen and lubricate bones and joints, they promote eye health and healthy vision, and they improve brain health and function as well.
Cottage cheese – If you're after the ultimate snack food which is ready to eat, tastes great, and is packed full of muscle-building goodness, look no further than cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is very low in fat, it is free from carbohydrates, and it is packed full of protein and essential minerals. As it is a dairy product for example, it is especially rich in calcium, which strengthens teeth and bones. The protein it contains is largely made up of casein protein, which is a slow-digesting protein that takes several hours to fully digest. For this reason, cottage cheese is ideal when consumed late at night right before bed, as it will provide your body with a steady stream of protein and nutrients whilst you sleep, preventing you from entering a catabolic (muscle wasting) state.
Red meat – Red meat, beef for example, is another high protein food which is fantastic for people trying to increase lean muscle mass levels. Red meat is not only rich in protein and amino acids, it also contains minerals including zinc and iron, which promote haemoglobin formation, which in turn increases oxygen and nutrient transportation throughout the body via the bloodstream. As more oxygen and nutrients can therefore be transported around the body, the muscles will be able to absorb more of them, and will therefore have more energy and will become more efficient, especially in the gym.