It’s a well renowned fact that protein is an essential part of a balanced and healthy diet. Protein is the building block of our body. As it helps to repair and build organs, muscles and bones.
On account of this reason nowadays everywhere on the internet we notice there’s lots of emphasis on a protein rich diet. Protein rich diets are trending everywhere. All the most popular celebrity chefs, to all YouTube chefs are suggesting and exhibiting new tasty and innovative recipes which are rich in protein.
Why is protein important in your healthy diet?
Protein is an essential macronutrient as it contains nitrogen without which our growth and reproduction is not possible.
It’s a misinterpreted perception that only the people who go to gym or who are involved in strength training exercises, need to be attentive towards protein intake. In fact protein intake is essential for all and sundry. As nutrients absorption is better in the body, when consumed with protein.
A protein rich diet aids in
- Fat reduction
- Retain muscles
- Optimal health and good strength
- Weight loss
- Hormonal development
- Healthy and well nourished hair and skin
- Healthy aging
- Feeling of fullness (satiety) hence you feel less hungry
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for an adult woman is 0.8grams per kilo of her body weight while for men it’s 1gram per kilo.
It is considered that a diet rich in protein and without carbohydrates and fats is good for weight loss. But it is not considered good in the long run. When carbohydrates are replaced by protein, such a diet leads to constipation. The main reason for constipation in carbs restricted diet is lack of fiber.
To avoid all such complications it will be gainful to have a balanced diet. A balanced diet comprised not just single but a variety of foods, in the right proportion. It is essential for overall development and nourishment of the body. A balanced diet prevents chronic diseases like heart diseases, diabetes and cancer.
A balanced diet consists of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. Half of your plate’s space should be occupied by fruits and veggies, ¼ with whole grains and another ¼ with protein.
Different sources of proteins
Consuming correct amount of protein on a daily basis is essential for your overall health.
Animal sources of protein like meat, poultry, dairy products, fish and eggs are considered a good source of complete protein, but if you abstain from animal sources of food you can have lots of plant based foods like lentils, pulses, nuts, seeds, cottage cheese, tofu, soya, peas, chickpeas and grains.
Unlike meat which contains all essential amino acids in the proper amount, lentils and pulses often lack one or more essential amino acids. This is the reason why it is advocated to eat pulses in combination with grains.
Don’t just have protein (pulses) in your diet, instead combine protein with carbohydrates. This combination of protein and carbohydrates is not just helpful in weight loss but it is favourable in many ways as it prevents constipation, hunger pangs and most importantly it combat the deficiency of methionine (one of the essential amino acids).
Meat contains all essential amino acids but pulses and lentils contain lysine but are deficient in methionine, which can be overcome by combining pulses with grains, as they contain methionine and cysteine.
To get all the essential amino acids in a plant based diet, the combination of protein and carbohydrates is considered good. For example: Dal-rice, dal-roti, rajma-rice etc.
The ideal amount of protein in a diet is not the same for all. It is based on the factors such as age, gender, lifestyle, physical activity level, health condition and total diet.
How much protein intake is adequate?
As I earlier mentioned, the appropriate amount of protein intake in a
- Healthy female and male with sedentary lifestyle or minimum physical activity is 0.8 and 1.0 gram per kilo of body weight per day respectively. Refer
- Athletes who workout regularly need 1.4 to 2.0gram/kg/day of protein in their diet. Athletes need more protein, as muscle recovery after physical exertion is boosted by taking proteins.
- The people who workout strenuously can get their daily protein requirements through regular protein rich diet along with protein supplements to ensure adequacy.
|Age||Average Protein Needs (gram/day)|
|4 – 8||19|
|9 – 13||34|
|14 – 18 (Girls)||46|
|14 – 18 (Boys)||52|
|19 – 70+ (Women)||46|
|19 – 70+ (Men)||56|
An adequate amount of protein in your diet makes you feel better, stronger, it improves your sleep, and as a result you end up feeling and looking good. Protein in diet can be derived from both animal or plant foods.
Although protein is requisite for us, it will be worthwhile if consumed in moderation. A diet rich in protein is no doubt beneficial, but it may cause some health concerns if consumed in excess amounts for an extended period.
Disclaimer – Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information.