Best sources of protein

5 April 2014 by
First published: 4 April 2014

Getting a decent protein fix is a must to keep your health in tip top condition. But what are the best sources of protein?

The power of protein is pretty well-known these days, from its crucial role in muscle repair to its assistance in maintaining a healthy immune system. But when you’re in need of that extra hit on top of your meals, what shakes should we be filling up on to make sure we’re getting a high-quality dose? We ask sports scientist and co-founder of The Protein Works, Ross Edgley, to chime in with his expertise.

1. In the morning
‘There’s not really a best form of protein first thing in the morning, since it really depends on your goals,’ Ross says. ‘For example, a casein and whey blend might be best for keeping you fuller for longer if your goals are based around weight loss, while a hydrolysed whey shake is best for toning goals since it breaks the 7-9 hour fast of sleeping and delivers amino acids to the muscles as quickly as possible.’

2. Post workout
‘It’s important to have a rapidly-absorbed protein following training since your muscles are starved, but also because after a workout they possess a sponge-like property that experts believe gives muscles an increased ability for protein synthesis,’ Ross explains. ‘That’s why many athletes opt for hydrolysed whey protein post-workout. It’s partially pre-digested by enzymes into shorter amino acid chains, which are absorbed instantly, enabling muscles to start rebuilding and recovering quickly.’

3. For vegetarians and vegans
‘Soya protein is not only a good choice for vegetarian and vegan athletes, it also has an array of health benefits,’ says Ross. ‘It’s considered a complete protein source since it contains an adequate amount of all 9 essential amino acids. It’s also been found that soya has potent antioxidant effects, perhaps countering exercise-induced oxidant stress. ‘Hemp protein is also a good choice, especially thanks to its high levels of healthy fats,’ Ross adds. ‘These are praised for their benefits in preventing muscle breakdown, decreasing inflammation, speeding up recovery time and supporting healthy joints.’

If you like your protein the ol’ fashioned way – a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner, then try some of these recipes.

Salmon en Papillote with Ginger & Lime 

Three-bean salad with quail’s eggs 

Chicken, Orange and Pomegranate Salad