High protein diets are getting more popular these days, especially to lose weight. But Indians consume even lower amount of proteins than the recommended amount and which may leads to protein deficiency. And many of them are unaware about how to improve the protein consumption.
Proteins are called as building block of our body. The term protein means “to take first place”, really as the meaning says, it has very important role in our body. This vital nutrient performs all three main functions of nutrients. It plays an important role in growth, maintenance and repair of body tissues. It regulates key processes in our body. And excess protein can be used as a source of energy too. It is also required for formation of essential body compounds, transport of nutrients, regulation of water balance, maintenance of appropriate pH and many more.
Protein is required in every age of the life. And requirements of proteins differ in each age group. The average daily protein requirement of normal adult person is around 1gms per kg body weight. That means around 10% -15% of food should be consumed from protein source. But in special cases, requirements may go high. For ex: Pregnant women, lactating mother, person on weight loss program, growing child have higher protein requirements.
This special nutrient is synthesized from 20 different compounds; we called it as amino acids molecules. There are two types of amino acids, Essential and non essential amino acids. Non essential amino acids are those which can be made by the body, so there is no need to take it from food. And essential amino acids are those which body cannot make it by its own. So, it’s necessary to take it from outside, i.e. from the food we eat.
So, protein rich diet should include all essential amino acids in sufficient quantity. And even if you consume proteins in sufficient amount it is necessary to have good quality of proteins. So, quantity as well as quality of protein is important. This quality of protein depends upon source of protein.
You get proteins from animal foods as well as plant foods. Animal foods like, meat, fish, eggs, milk and milk products are good source of protein and called as high quality proteins (first class proteins). And plant food such as nuts, soybeans, tofu, oilseeds, pulses, also provides protein in the diet. Even if animal protein called as high quality proteins, you can also improve quality of your veg food sources by combining different types of foods.
Here are some Combinations of food to improve quality of veg proteins:
- Cereal + Legumes combination (Idli, Dosa, Khichdi)
- Cereal + Milk and Milk Products (Paneer pulav, cheese sandwich, curd rice)
- Legumes + Nuts and Oilseeds ( Groundnut + Gingelly seed chutney)
Here as some tips to improve quantity of proteins:
- Have 2 glass of milk daily.
- Mix soya flour to your daily wheat flour to make chapatis.
- Have 1-2 eggs daily.
- Replace your salads with riata’s (salad with curd) so that it will improve your protein consumption.
- Include fish, chicken in your diet at least twice a week.
- Eat handful of nuts like almonds, walnuts, groundnuts daily.
So, including foods that are high in proteins and improving quality of proteins that you eat will help to build muscle, improve growth rate, improves hair growth, controls appetite, maintains lean tissue by burning fats, helps to lose weight and good for overall well being.