The best protein for men’s health include many plant-based protein sources. When most people think of protein, they think of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs, but did you know that there are several legumes, seeds, and grains that are exceptional sources of protein? The Prostate Health Diet emphasizes a diet rich in plant-based proteins. Here is the best protein for men’s health.
Best Protein for Men’s Health
Amaranth: This ancient grain-like food, which was first cultivated thousands of years ago, is actually a seed. Rich in protein (10 grams per cup, cooked), it is also a very good source of fiber, with three times the fiber of wheat. Amaranth also contains more than 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate. It also contains phytosterols and tocotrienols, two substances that help the body eliminate cholesterol. Amaranth is easy to prepare: just cook it like rice using a ratio of 1 part amaranth to three parts water and it’s done in 15 to 20 minutes. It’s great as a cereal, popped like popcorn, toasted, or sprouted. You can cook it with other whole grains and add it to stir-fry or to soups or stews. Amaranth is also safe for anyone who is wheat gluten sensitive (celiac disease).
Beans: Black, red kidney, white, pinto—all of these legumes are an excellent source of plant protein, but they also offer a lot more. Beans are a very good source of fiber, which helps in the fight against cholesterol. The fiber in beans also prevents blood sugar levels from rising too quickly after a meal, which makes beans a good menu item for people who have diabetes. Antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins also are found in beans. Basically, the darker the bean’s seed coat, the higher its level of antioxidant activity. Therefore, black beans rank higher than red, brown, yellow, and white beans, in that order, in antioxidant power. But when it comes to protein, the order changes. Cooked black beans provide 15 grams per cup, while red kidney beans pack about 16 grams, brown (pinto) offer 14 grams, and white beans have 19 grams. To cook fresh beans, you need three cups of water for each cup of dried beans for stovetop cooking. Bring the beans to a boil and then simmer for about 90 minutes. Beans are a great for making soup, stews, and chili, and tasty in bean salads as well as a protein addition to green salads. These versatile proteins make up some of the best protein for men.
Buckwheat: It sounds like wheat and looks like a cereal grain, but buckwheat is actually a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb. You may know it as kasha or groats, but whatever you call it, buckwheat contains all eight essential amino acids and is a high-quality protein source, about 12 grams per cup, cooked. That is why it makes the list of the best protein for men’s health. There are many ways to prepare it, but the basic recipe is easy: 1 cup of buckwheat and 1 ½ cups water, bring to a boil, simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then let it stand for 5 minutes. Buckwheat is a good substitute for rice and provides a fair amount of protein. If you are wheat-sensitive, no problem: buckwheat does not contain gluten.
Kamut: This is another ancient food that is believed to have first been grown in either Egypt or Asia and is now a patented US product. Unlike the other three high-protein “grains,” kamut is really a grain. Sometimes referred to as “sweet wheat,” kamut’s protein content is 40 percent higher than traditional wheat, providing about 9 grams of protein per 1 cup cooked, and it has a higher vitamin content. Preparing kamut does take a bit longer than the other “grains” in this section: it takes about 1.5 hours to slow cook 1 cup of kamut in 4 cups of water. Although kamut is a close relative to durum wheat, about 70 percent of people who are allergic or sensitive to traditional wheat are not allergic to kamut. (Quinn 1999)
Lentils: Like beans, lentils are high in protein (18 grams per cup, cooked) and fiber, and so are also helpful in lowering cholesterol and managing blood sugar levels. They also provide excellent amounts of folate and good levels of iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Preparing lentils is easy: use three cups of liquid for each cup of lentils. Place the lentils in boiling water and simmer for about 30 minutes for green lentils and 20 minutes for red ones. Lentils are good in soups and stews, and mixed with vegetables, noodles, and curry.
Quinoa: This is not a grain but the seed of a leafy plant that is a distant relative of spinach. It has been cultivated in the Andean mountains for more than 5,000 years and was considered a sacred food by the Incas. Quinoa is a complete protein (8 grams per cup, cooked), and it is also a good source of potassium and riboflavin, as well as niacin, B6, iron, and thiamin. All these nutrients and protein make quinoa a best protein for men. This seed is very easy to make and takes only a few minutes to prepare: combine one part quinoa with two parts liquid and simmer for 15 minutes.
Split Peas: Although split peas belong to the same family as lentils and peas, they are usually considered as a separate group because they are prepared differently. Dried split peas are an excellent source of protein, providing about 16 grams per cup, cooked. They are also a great source of fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels, but they also provide folate, manganese, and thiamin. Split peas contain isoflavones which have been linked to a reduced risk of breast and prostate cancer. To prepare split peas, use three cups of water for every cup of dried peas. Once the water comes to a boil, simmer the peas for about 30 minutes. In addition to split pea soup, these tasty legumes are used to make dahl (a classic Indian dish) and enjoyed pureed with herbs to serve as a side dish.
Tempeh: This fermented soybean food has been a staple in Indonesia for more than 2,000 years, and a highly nutritious food that has gradually gained acceptance elsewhere as a plant protein alternative to meat. It is made by cooking and dehulling soybeans, inoculating them with a culturing agent like the fungus Rhizopus oligosporus, and incubating the mixture overnight until it forms a solid cake. Tempeh has high levels of protein (about 41 grams per cup), along with riboflavin, magnesium, manganese, copper, fiber, and isoflavones. Soy protein has been shown to help lower harmful cholesterol and raise beneficial cholesterol, as well as help regulate blood sugar levels in people who have diabetes. Tempeh can be stir-fried, heating in a skillet, added to sauces and soups, and made into chili.