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Protein Basics

Protein is the building block of our body. We have studied this in school but due to a busy life, this lesson is forgotten.

A complete protein is a combination of ten different essentials amino acids + 7 non-essential amino acids that we need for staying healthy.

Almost every food item is deficient in one or two amino acids with few exceptions.

  • Grains like rice, wheat, ragi, bajra, etc don’t have Lysine amino acid.
  • Beans & Oilseeds, grams, nuts, contain nine amino acids but lack Methionine.
  • Milk, fish, chicken, mutton, eggs, soybeans, yeast, mushroom have all essential amino acids.

We can make out following from about points.

  1. Our daily food should have a mixture of No 1 & No 2 to get a complete protein will all essential amino acids.
  2. The No 3 food items can be eaten independently or in combination with No 1 or No 2. Reason why most people recommend a Non-vegetarian source of protein.
  3. In today’s busy life preparation complexity & time for preparing a Veg source of protein is a challenge for most.

How much Protein do we need?

The human body needs an average of 10gms of protein every 3 hours or an average of 53 grams/day as per WHO.

If this requirement is not fulfilled, the body breaks our muscles first to satiate this need and after that, it breaks fats. This is one of the reasons why losing weight by unsupervised fasting is close to impossible.

The right amount of protein along with a balanced diet is needed for safe weight loss.

Also, stay away from un-supervised fasting!!!

What Protein does to our body?

  • Builds muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, hair & nails.
  • Builds & Repairs damaged tissues.
  • Oxygenates red blood cells as they are the carrier of oxygen throughout the whole body.
  • Digestive enzymes are made of protein, which aids in digestion and cellular regeneration that can keep us young.
  • Hormone regulation especially during the growing up phase and even in old age for women to manage menopause.

How does one consume Protein?

  • Avoid having the entire protein requirement in a single meal. Space it out between 6-8 meals.
  • If you have an active lifestyle e.g., sportsperson then the number of meals increases.
  • For an average person, 5-6 protein-rich meals are ideal during the day are required.
  • Heavy one-time meals reduce the body’s capacity to absorb nutrients from food as you are taxing the digestive system beyond its capacity.
  • While the importance of protein cannot be understated a balanced diet is required as carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and water consumption should also be taken care of.

Analyze your meals and see if you are having the right amount and quality of Protein. It should be part of your meals, day in day out, Protein will not only build muscles but will keep you healthy for a very very long time.

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