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Proteins – Healthy Building Blocks

What comes to your mind when we say protein? Meat and fish. However, this very important nutrient is available in various other options as well. It is important that when you make a choice of protein-rich foods, maintain a variety and look for the fat and cholesterol content in the selected food item.

Why our bodies need protein?

Protein is good but the most important reason is that it is very essential for our body. Nutrition experts say that our body requires them on daily basis, as they are the building block of cells and tissues throughout the body. They are required for healing and building strong bones, nails, hair and teeth.

Saying this, does not mean that you begin overloading your daily diet with protein and make it a primary food source. A healthy balance in food items is necessary for the overall growth of the body.

The daily protein requirement in women is around 50 gms, while in men it is up to 60 to 70 gms. However, pregnant women need more protein. Even elderly and athletes too have extra protein requirement. If our diet is rich in proteins, there is no point taking the supplements. Many diet experts are of the view that people generally take around 120 gms of daily protein intake. This is actually twice than the daily needed dose.

Not all- protein rich foods are good

It is very important that you need to evaluate what are the other unhealthy fats, which come with the protein rich food. Look for saturated fats and cholesterol. Many meats are quite rich in saturated fat content, so they do more harm than good.

If you are a non-vegetarian, go for lean protein source lie skinless chicken breast. Avoid red meat. High in protein, it is also very high in saturated fats and contains cholesterol. A healthy inclusion could be lean cuts of pork and beef. Stay away from cold cuts and hot dogs; they contain excess fat and salt.

Richest protein sources

The thumb rule is opting for protein, which are low in fat. Some of such very healthy and easily available options include beans, nuts, low-fat dairy products, fish etc.

Egg is considered the richest protein source. However, if you are concerned about the fat and cholesterol, eat only the egg white. Fat and cholesterol is in yolk.

Some other healthy protein rich foods are:

  • Fat-free or low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, and other low fat dairy products
  • Whole grains like quinoa
  • Fish (not sardines, salmon; they are fatty fishes)
  • Protein-fortified pasta
  • Nut and nut-butter. E.g. Peanut butter (however, if you have allergy, look for other protein rich sources)
  • Lentils, kidney and black beans
  • Protein-rich meal replacement bars

Remember that protein-rich food is important for our body and if you could make some healthier choice in that, you will be healthier and happier.