If you've been with me a while, you know I talk a lot about the importance of protein.
Because getting enough protein in your diet is what helps maintain good health, especially as you age.
Without adequate protein you begin to lose muscle strength, and your energy levels plummet.
Your skin begins to sag... making you look years older than you truly are.
Plus, low protein intake can lead to brain fog.
To ensure you get enough protein needed for true health, your meals simply must include a good amount of protein.
Now, there certainly is no shortage of protein sources in grocery stores these days.
Some are great, like eggs, grass-fed beef, and chicken.
But others should be avoided altogether.
Like most "protein" bars.
Sure, the protein content is impressive... some with more than 30 grams per bar.
But most of those bars also come loaded with calories, fat and sugar that can do a load of harm to your health.
Another protein source to avoid? Cups of yogurt, or at least some types of yogurt.
This is one item where you really need to look at the label.
Because many of them are often loaded with sugar.
Here's a rule, if sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients in your yogurt, start looking for another kind.
If you rely on deli meats, like sliced turkey and ham, for protein, you could be unknowingly flooding your body with sodium and sugar.
Packaged lunch meat is usually highly processed and packed with salt and sugar (or corn syrup) to enhance the flavor and keep the meat fresher, longer.
Skip those packaged meats and eat fresh cuts instead.
Nuts can be a good snack source of protein, if you eat the right kind.
Anything labeled as "honey roasted" is usually an indication that it's packed with sugar and other sweeteners like corn syrup.
It's far better to buy raw, shelled nuts over store-made varieties.
Protein shakes are a good option for boosting protein intake, but you have to be careful. Some are full of artificial sweeteners, like sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
Instead, look for shakes with natural sweeteners, like stevia or monk fruit.
Fish can provide a healthy amount of protein.
Some of my favorite protein-packed fish are sea bass, salmon and tuna.
Now, if you are going to eat tuna, you want to be sure you're eating fresh tuna, not the canned variety in oil.
The oil used in canned tuna is highly inflammatory.
Plus, with canned tuna you have additional worries of mercury and BPA.
Another fish you should avoid is tilapia.
Farm-raised tilapia is low in health-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, and high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Too much omega-6s, without enough omega-3s, can negatively influence your health.
Clearly, not all proteins are created equal.
Read labels to limit sugar, fat, and sodium, and stick with natural food sources like lean beef and chicken to be sure you're feeding your body the right protein it needs.