What Are High Quality Proteins?

Protein is an essential nutrient to promote muscle growth and maintenance; however, different proteins sources differ greatly in quality.

High quality proteins include those containing all essential amino acids. Examples include meat, eggs, dairy and quinoa; vegetable proteins found in grain products or legumes may be lower quality.

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Protein is a crucial nutrient for optimal body performance. Unfortunately, not all proteins are created equal: animal-sourced proteins like meat contain all essential amino acids required by our bodies – known as complete proteins. On the other hand, plant-based proteins may lack some of these essential amino acids; such incomplete proteins may still meet our protein requirements when combined with foods that do contain all necessary essential amino acids.

High quality meat is an integral component of a balanced protein diet, providing essential amino acids as well as other vital vitamins and nutrients to our bodies. In addition, meat provides energy needed for physical performance. When purchasing organic, grass-fed and free-range products it will contain less toxins, helping improve both your health and overall wellness.

Fresh meat quality is determined by both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors include appearance, flavor and juiciness while extrinsic ones include safety, nutrition, animal welfare and ethics. At point-of-purchase consumers typically assess meat quality based on appearance traits such as color, drip and purge, firmness and marbling while sensory characteristics like tenderness juiciness flavor are evaluated through sensory characteristics like tenderness.

Quality meat evaluation methods include color spectrophotometry, near-infrared spectroscopy, gas chromatography and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Color influences its quality by species, age and muscle type – paler colored meat is more likely to turn gray or green during storage and display, making it less appealing to consumers; moreover it has lower firmness and more exudative moisture than darker meat varieties.


Eggs are an abundant source of high quality protein, offering essential dietary benefits in one easily digestible package. Each egg provides around 6 or 7 grams of protein that helps build and repair muscle tissue. Choline plays an essential role in brain development as well as memory, thinking and mood regulation; furthermore they’re full of antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin that may reduce risk of macular degeneration among older adults.

An essential aspect of identifying high quality eggs lies within their albumen. This thick inner layer surrounds and protects the yolk and should stand tall without becoming air-filled (an air cell). A clean white indicates that an egg was stored correctly.

Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein, providing our bodies with all essential amino acids it cannot produce on its own. Furthermore, eggs provide ample vitamins A, D, E, B5, riboflavin and choline which are all vitally necessary for optimal development and health.

As more consumers become aware of how chickens are raised, more consumers are seeking eggs produced from ethically raised hens. This has created an array of egg options sourced from ethically raised hens – cage-free, free-range and pasture-raised being among them – which vary significantly in terms of animal welfare standards and environmental sustainability. While higher welfare standard eggs tend to cost more, many find the flavor and nutrition worth their weight in gold!


Many people know that milk is an excellent source of protein. Indeed, MyPlate lists dairy milk as one of its foods recommended to provide nutritionally well-rounded meals. In addition to protein content, dairy products also provide vitamin D, calcium and potassium benefits – but not all brands provide equal quality products! When selecting high quality dairy, quality matters more than quantity.

Food quality can be measured in two ways. One way is its digestibility and ability to provide essential amino acids. Amino acids form the building blocks of proteins; there are nine essential amino acids your body cannot make itself (known as essential amino acids). Proteins which contain all essential amino acids are considered high quality complete proteins.

Some of the easiest to digest proteins include lean meats, eggs and dairy. When selecting dairy, organic options should always be preferred as conventional varieties may contain genetic modifications linked to cancer and obesity.

Furthermore, dairy quality can differ widely depending on both farms and years, with large corporate agribusinesses taking advantage of loopholes to lower milk standards – thus diminishing product quality – leading them to reduce standards further and further. Organizations like The Cornucopia Institute are working hard to help guide consumers through this complex situation.

When selecting dairy, always opt for products with low phosphorus content if you are on a restricted phosphorus diet or taking medications to decrease absorption of phosphorus. This is particularly essential if taking medications to decrease absorption.


Soybeans are an essential staple in vegetarian diets. Not only are they an excellent source of protein and good fats, they are also rich in healthful vitamins and minerals including nine essential amino acids as well as folic acid and B complex vitamins which may prevent neural tube defects in newborns. Furthermore, soybeans provide plenty of fiber and iron.

Soybeans contain protein with high digestibility indispensable amino acid scores (DIAAS), meaning our bodies can use it efficiently for building and repairing cells. They also contain nutrients beneficial to both human and animal health, including phytoestrogens which have shown to have positive impacts against cardiovascular diseases, symptoms associated with menopause, bone loss and cancer.

After oil has been extracted from soybeans, they are processed into various high-protein commercial products like soy flour, concentrates and isolates. Soy protein isolate stands out as the highest-quality product as its production process eliminates rigid cell walls and antinutrient factors for improved protein digestibility.

Soybean meal is one of the primary uses for soybeans and is consumed by poultry, pigs, cattle, fish and other animals worldwide. Global animal agriculture relies more heavily on soybean meal than any other crop due to its high-quality protein content which makes it both useful to humans as well as valuable feedstock for animals.

Like other legumes, soybeans contain high levels of fibre for regularity purposes and to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure levels, helping weight loss by making you feel full. Soybean meal also contains many other important nutrients such as potassium and magnesium.


Quina is an extremely high protein and fiber grain packed with essential nutrients essential for good health, including potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron – which all play crucial roles in maintaining proper blood sugar levels and muscle function as well as helping avoid iron deficiency anemia.

Quinoa is one of the few plant foods to provide “complete proteins,” meaning all nine essential amino acids. According to researchers at Ohio State University, these amino acids include lysine, isoleucine, methionine, phenylalanine valine threonine and tryptophan; thus making quinoa an invaluable addition to vegan diets.

Antioxidant content of this fruit is outstanding, including quercetin and kaempferol which are powerful flavonoids known to prevent disease. Furthermore, folate and omega-3 fats found in this food may provide heart-healthy benefits such as lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Quinoa offers several key benefits to digestive health. It helps prevent constipation by bulking up stool. Furthermore, its fiber content has also been found to lower risks of gastroesophageal reflux disease and diverticulitis.

Quinoa can be found both at health food stores and specialty grain aisles of standard grocery stores, and requires special care in harvesting and processing to ensure it is safe for consumption. This requires the removal of saponins – protective coatings known as soapins that give quinoa its bitter taste and laxative qualities – that coat its seeds’ outer surfaces, such as its protective outer coat known as saponins that give rise to bitter flavors as well as soapy, laxative properties – that gives rise to these qualities – before washing thoroughly soaking for 2 hours prior to cooking followed by repeated rinsed until foam dissipation occurs – this process ensures zero bacteria contamination, pesticide residue or unpleasant flavors from occurring during processing preventing possible contamination by bacteria contaminating pesticide residue or unpleasant flavors from occurring later during harvesting or processing steps.