The Best Protein Sources We Always Forget About
How much protein you get: A cup of cooked beans generally has between 12–16 grams.
Why they're great: They're low in fat and high in insoluble as well as soluble fiber, which help promote a healthy digestive tract, lower blood cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of some types of cancer. A growing body of research suggests that eating beans, as well as fish, chicken or nuts in place of red meat can lower the risk of several diseases and premature death. Eat a mix of colors to get different types of heath-promoting, free-radical-fighting antioxidants.
One more thing: Beans are considered "incomplete," because they're missing essential amino acids, explains Schmitt. Pair them with whole grains that have complementary amino acids as well as extra protein. Good combos: Lentils and quinoa, black beans and brown rice, hummus and whole wheat pita.