Protein has gained mass popularity, and no doubt it’s worth the praise.
It’s found in every part or tissue of the body, in muscle, bone, and skin. It is an essential nutrient required for building the cells of muscle, bone, blood, provides strength to muscle and boost immunity. They are even required for the production of hormones, enzymes, antibodies, collagen, every cells and organ of the body.
The above reason isn’t the fact behind its popularity. It gained popularity for its role in weight loss and weight management. The rate of obesity is rising with passing years, and its the cofactor for the rising disease.
Health problem due to obesity should be the primary concern while obesity should be secondary.
Case 1: For obese people — If they don’t regain their healthy weight, the risk of health problem doubles every passing year.
Case 2: For those who lost weight with unhealthy strategy — The risk of health problem is equal or higher. It’s due to the side-effect of the diet and that weight loss aren’t permanent.
In both cases, you are doing harm to your body but in different ways. For both concerns, we are going to look over protein role.
Consider Case 1: For obese people — If they don’t regain a healthy weight, the risk of health problem doubles with the passing year.
Obesity is a common problem these days. It won’t be if everyone dedicates to follow a healthy eating routine. The reason behind the weight gain issue is overeating calorie, which gets stored as fat.
The reason to overeat calories — imbalanced nutrient intake, lower satiety and, frequent hunger pangs.
Protein is a nutrient which breaks down slowly — slowing down the digestion of food results in a slow release of sugar.
With the slow release of sugar, there won’t be a spike in blood sugar, cutting the need to store sugar as fat. While there will be a continuous supply of energy, so the body doesn’t feel the need to eat more.
When you’re trying to lose or maintain weight — protein-rich foods will be the perfect companion. Eating healthy protein source will help regain healthy weight without doing any damage to the body.
With a healthy eating routine, the body receives enough nutrients responsible for improved health, thus increasing longevity.
Case 2: For those who lost weight with unhealthy strategy — The risk of health problem is equal or higher due to the side-effect of the diet and even those weight loss aren’t permanent.
Importance of protein is highlighted for quick weight loss, but it even has drawbacks. It’s not due to nutrient but with the use, source, and strategies.
Nutrients available naturally are healthy, but excess consumption is not good, no matter how healthy it is.
Make Healthier Food Choice
Food source high in protein are considered healthy, but the type of food decide whether it’s healthy or not. The nutrients content of the protein source can rob or double the benefit.
What food provides depends on the food choice you make.
Option 1: 6-ounce powerhouse streak
Protein – 40 gram
Saturated fat – 12 gram
Option 2: 6-ounce ham steak
Saturated fat – 2.5
Sodium – 2000 milligram (ideal daily limit 1500 milligram)
Option 3: 6 ounces of wild salmon
Protein – 34 gram
Saturated fat – 1.7 gram
Low in sodium
Among all the above food, salmon or other fatty fish are an excellent source of protein and heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acid. A cup of cooked lentils provides 18 gram of protein and 15 gram of fiber, with the lowest amount of saturated fat and sodium.
Processed red meat on a regular basis is linked to increased Heart disease, Stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, and Obesity.
The problem with processed red meat are;
- A high amount of saturated fat,
- Cancer-causing carcinogenic compounds produced during high-temperature grilling.
Tips for grilling: You don’t have to stop grilling, instead, follow a healthy grilling tip from the American Institute of Cancer Research.
Marinate meat before grilling it, partially pre-cook meat in the oven or microwave to reduce time on the grill, and grill over a low flame.
Eating a protein-rich diet aren’t necessarily associated with health issues — its obsession with high-protein and few food types.
To counteract any negative impact of protein you need to take care of how much you need. The requirement differs from age, gender, physical activity, and personal goals.
The protein need differs for every person, and it’s quite complicated to say the exact figure.
- Growing youngster needs more compared to grownup adults.
- A pregnant woman needs more compared to other women.
- A senior citizen also needs a high amount of protein to counteract muscle loss due to ageing.
- An active person protein requirement will be higher than a sedentary person.
- To lose weight and build lean muscle – the protein requirement increases.
Protein intake ideal ratio — 0.8g to 1.2g per kg of body weight.
If you want to get the most from the food you eat, consider these three tips.
1. Quality With Combination
For better utilization, we need complete protein in a meal.
The body can’t efficiently use the protein if it lacks any single essential amino acid, instead of a high-protein diet.
You should eat the right combination of food to get complete amino acids so that the body can utilize it in a better way.
The animal source is the best way to get a complete protein. There are many plant sources that contain complete protein like oats, chia, quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, soy, hempseed, etc.
The pairing of food or combination improves meal amino acid profile, i.e., provide complete amino acids every time you eat those combinations.
- Black bean and rice,
- Pasta and peas,
- Indian lentils served over rice (Dal),
- Corn tortillas with beans (Tacos),
- Roasted nuts, seeds, and peanuts,
- Chickpeas and tahini (Hummus).
Add chunks of chicken to bean chilli to bump up the protein content.
Combining two or more food type cover the amino acids missing in both groups. While you can consider adding complete protein foods for a better amino acids profile.
2. Quality With Variations
Improve the quality of food by adding variations.
Adding more vegetables with meat helps the body to absorb more iron in vegetables.
Cruciferous vegetable (Broccoli or Brussels sprouts), helps to disarm unhealthy carcinogens called heterocyclic amines those produced when meat is chargrilled or grilled. You can also add other vegetables to stay protected from free radicals and inflammation
Eating vegetables with meat to cut down cholesterol absorption. Fiber traps cholesterol-rich bile acids in the intestine and eliminates it. When you eat vegetables with meat, the consumption of meat lowers.
Adding alkaline rich fruits and vegetable is recommended with protein-rich food to counteract acids produced during protein digestion, to prevent calcium loss.
That’s enough reason to convince you to add combinations to make your meal – healthy and tasty.
Protein is not like carbohydrates – they aren’t stored for further use, it dumps the excess. Eating excess protein is the loss of food and energy (those during eating, digestion, detoxification of excess ammonia and its by-products during digestion).
The best way to get benefit from a protein-rich diet is to eat frequently so that it is available for the whole day for proper utilization.
A frequent small dose of protein is the best approach than a single large serving.
You can add more protein in the morning, but still, eat a small serving in each meal. The reason is not just about protein utilization, its also about satiety we get after eating protein-rich food.
There are many good sources of protein, among those, we are about to discuss few but the best one.
1. Beans, Nuts & Seeds
Beans, seed and nuts are the best sources to get lean protein. These foods are low in saturated fat but loaded with healthy nutrients and protein.
Beans should be the primary source to get protein. You can use nuts for snacking and for garnishing. Combine all these foods and make a better combination.
Eggs are the most recommended food around the world to get protein or say complete protein. They are even budget-friendly and time-saving food.
1 whole egg provides 6g of protein, so 2-3 eggs will be enough to meet your protein requirement for a meal or to start a better day.
Yet there are concerns with yolk, due to its cholesterol content. The yolk is also a great source of protein and other healthy nutrients — enough to support the growth of chicken.
If you have a concern with cholesterol, then limit the intake of yolk. You can go with 1 whole egg and 2 egg white which will give around 15g protein.
3. Fish, Chicken & Turkey
Choose skinless chicken to cut the saturated fat.
Turkey is a great source of lean protein.
115g serving of turkey breast provides 60 percent of the protein you need each day, with the lowest fat compared to a cut of pork or beef.
Fishes are a great source of heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, the nutritional profile is not limited, it is also a great source of lean protein.
Warning: Try to limit beef in food, for that you can choose chicken, turkey, and fish. If you want, then go for a lean beef cut such as sirloin and tenderloin as they are surprisingly low in fat.
That’s all you need to know. Start making healthy food choice and you won’t have to worry about the exact figure. Just enjoy varieties of food.
This Article is part of Healthy Eating – Get Back Healthy Weight, Health & Vitality
4. Eat Lean Protein