Food offers important nutrient that is necessary for the proper functioning of the human body. This is why it is important to take a balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients in the right proportion. While all nutrients are important for overall body health, the importance of having protein in your everyday meal should not be overlooked.
Proteins are the building blocks of the body. They perform many important functions in the body and provide alternative energy. Protein-rich foods aid in weight loss as proteins control hunger by prolonging the feeling of “fullness”.
Protein is necessary for muscle growth and helps to build and repair tissue. Protein is necessary for the production of important body chemicals like enzymes and bones.
All these make it important to consume a healthy amount of proteins daily. The recommended amount of proteins to be consumed daily is at 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women To get this exact amount, you would have to keep a watchful eye on the nutritional value of the food you consume daily.
However, it might be difficult watching everything you eat. This is why you should always take protein-rich foods to ensure that you’re consuming the right amount of proteins daily.
Common Protein Foods in Nigeria
Below is a list of popular protein foods in Nigeria, their benefits and major ingredients.
Beans are one of the most popular foods in Nigeria. They contain a high amount of proteins and other beneficial ingredients. Beans are usually consumed alone or with other food combinations.
The most popular beans combinations are beans and garri, beans and plantain, beans and potato, beans and yam, beans and rice, and beans and akamu.
Beans are one of the best meals for weight loss. It is low in calories and makes you full really fast.
Akara (Bean Cake)
Akara is fried bean balls that are made from ground beans. The making process usually involves placing the ground beans a pan and frying with vegetable oil. Akara is mostly consumed as a snack, however, it can be taken as breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The main food combinations for Akara are Akara and bread and Akara and pap. Since Akara is made directly from beans, they have a high protein content which makes them one of the protein-rich foods to go for.
Unlike beans, Akara wouldn’t fill you quickly which is why they are considered to be a snack. But if you want to consume them as one of your main meals for the day, you‘ll have to go with any of the food combinations already listed above.
Eating chicken offers a whole lot of benefits including the tastiness of chewing on the soft meat. While the entire chicken is made up of protein, much of the protein can be found in the breast region of the chicken.
Chicken can be consumed alone after it has been fried or barbecued. You can consume the chicken with any food combination of your choosing. The most popular food combinations are rice and stew, fried rice, and jollof rice.
Fish is one of the best protein sources. Fish are very high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins. and minerals. They are known to provide a lot of health benefits which is one of the reasons they are used when making stews and soups.
The protein content usually makes up more than 50% of the fishes’ calories. However, this percentage varies from fish to fish. The fishes with the highest protein content include Tilapia, Yellowtail, Tuna, Bluefish, Cod, and Trout.
Fish can be consumed alone (fried, roasted or barbecued) or it can be consumed with other foods.
Eggs are a great source of proteins and other important nutrients necessary for the proper body function. However, the protein of the average egg is smaller than that of the average fish.
The protein content of an egg depends on the size of the egg. Smaller eggs usually have a smaller amount of proteins and other important nutrients while large eggs have these nutrients in larger amounts.
Eggs can be consumed boiled or fried. They can also be mixed with a lot of foods.
Milk is one of the best sources of protein, however, the protein content of milk is quite low. The amount of protein in milk also depends on the kind of milk.
Soy milk is the best type of milk as it has high protein content and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Its protein content is just the same as that of cow’s milk, however, it is lower in calories which makes it the best option for those trying to lose weight.
Cheese is another great source of protein. Its protein content in 100 grams is higher than what you can from the same amount of milk (this depends on the kind of milk and the type of cheese). Cheese is also a great source of important body nutrients like calcium.
Cheese is actually made from milk so it has most of the nutritional content of the milk it is made from.
Meat contains a lot of protein and it is one of the best sources of healthy proteins. Meat from almost any animal can provide you with a lot of protein, however, the best option is to stick to beef meat.
Lean ground beef is one of the best sources of high-quality protein. If taken in the right amount, it can make up for your protein intake for a whole day. Meat also contains other beneficial nutrients in large amounts.
There are several Nigerian soups that have high protein content. These soups are made with vegetables, spices, meat, fish, and herbs. The addition of these ingredients makes these Nigerian soups nutrient-dense.
Soups like egusi, ewedu, and okra are one of the best sources for proteins, however, you would have to add meat and/or fish to boost the protein content of the soup. If you’re unable to get meat and fish, you can go for crayfish. Crayfish is a more affordable but high-quality protein source.