Protein is one of the basic building blocks of the body. We all know that. However what we remain confused about most of the times is, how much protein we need in our body and what kind of protein do we need. A lot of opinion exists on the subject on protein in human body, and we will try to look at them and help you out in choosing the ones which fit your body and your lifestyle.
Protein actually is a loose term and is actually a collection of amino acids. Our body has a minimum requirement of protein and lack of it leads to a kind of malnutrition called “Kwashiorkor” which can cause permanent damages to the body and the mind. It can be seen in places where there has been a famine of the food supply has reduced dramatically.
Protein as said earlier is made up of amino acids. We absorb these amino acids in our body through the protein that we eat. Hence it is necessary that we eat a variety of proteins and not just of one kind. It is generally suggested that grown men consume at least 56 grams of protein each day and grown women consume at least 46 grams of protein. In case of lactating and nursing women, it goes up to 72 gms of protein. Teenage boys are recommended 52 gms of protein per day and small children need about 19 to 30 gms each day.
Let us take a look at the types of proteins available to us and their benefits:
Red Meat is generally considered the richest source of protein and not without protein. The amino acids we get from red meat like beef or ham or pork cannot be generated in our body and the fatty acids we get are also very good for our body. Red meat contains better quality protein than most other protein sources pound for pound. Though for reasons of cholesterol alone, intake of red meat should be moderated. Excessive red meat has been the cause of heart diseases and can cause heart attacks. Hence a big word of caution is advised.
Fish is one of the best sources of protein as the amino acids present in fish are easily absorbed in the body along with Omega-3 and other healthy fatty acids which go a long way to make your body healthier and increases your immunity. Salmon, shellfish, tuna and Cod fishes are known to have high protein contents and are advised to be a part of your diet on a regular basis.
Eggs are excellent sources of protein as they are essentially young chicken. The egg white has very low calorie content yet is very rich in protein. Also, it must be take into account that the egg protein is easily digested. Being a high source of protein yet low in calories and filled with other essential vitamins like Vitamin A and E, egg is definitely recommended to be a part of the diet every day. Also, it is also advised to consume eggs to reduce weight.
A wholesome source of protein, chicken raised in an open area and fed on grain, insects and grass is a great source of first class protein without much cholesterol and saturated fatty acids. Chicken breast has the highest amount of protein and low amount of calories and is most recommended. Chicken is also loaded with anti depressants and also contains cardio vascular diseases. A muscle builder, it is one of the proteins which can be had in a healthy quantity and on a regular basis.
6.Milk and Yogurt
Milk and yogurt are one of the best sources of protein with high protein content. 1 cup of milk contains about 8 gms of protein and is filled with other nutrients along with protein. Milk is rich in vitamins and fat and is easily absorbed in the body. Along with low fat milk, yogurt is also very nutritious and has high protein content. Mother’s milk is considered to be the best food for infants and not without reasons. However those with lactose intolerance should avoid milk products and concentrate on beans, whole grains or soy if they are vegetarian and have eggs and meat and fish if they are non vegetarian.
5.Soy and Tempeh
Soy is also a source of protein for those who are vegetarian. Soy milk contains high amount of protein and 1 cup of soy milk has about 6 – 10 grams of protein. Tempeh is a product made with cooked and fermented soy and is rich in protein. 100 gms of Tempeh is estimated to contains 18 gms of protein. For vegetarians, soy beans and soy milk remain nutritious sources of protein which are digested by the body easily.
4.Beans and Peas
Beans including black beans, kidney beans, fava beans are rich sources of protein. Though beans are not complete protein, which means that they do not contain all the essential 9 amino acids needed for the body. Beans along with other food products are able to provide the necessary amount of protein one needs. Along with protein, beans are also a rich source of anti depressants and a lot of vitamins and minerals. Not to mention they are also an excellent source of fibre.
3.Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are also very good sources of protein with Almond, Peanuts, Cashews and sunflower seeds being excellent sources of protein and fatty acids. One cup of nuts usually contain about 20-30 gms of protein. One cup of sunflower seed, flax seeds or Pumpkin seeds contain about 25-30 gms of protein. They digest easily assuming one is not allergic to them and consume them without any side effects. Along with nuts, the nut butters like peanut butters are also high protein content food.
While it is not widely popular, the whole grains like Buckwheat and barley, Quinoa and Oats are also sources of protein and are often consumed along with other sources of protein to keep a healthy diet without cutting down on the daily protein requirements. Quinoa has one of the highest protein content among grains. Apart from protein, the whole grains also contain vitamins and are high sources of fibre and are an essential part of diet across cultures and countries throughout the world.
1.Whey protein and supplements
Whey protein has been used as a protein rich food and as a muscle building food. Whey Protein isolate has been used for the very purpose as a supplement to weight gain since some time. Along with high protein content, they also are easily digested and add to those muscles to your body.
Choose your protein carefully and do make sure that you do not eat one type of protein for long and have a balanced diet filled with all the ingredients in it. Eat healthy, live long.