- Proteins are important for weight loss
- Vegans and vegetarians can get adequate protein from their diet
- Egg whites are an excellent source of good quality protein
About 84% of Indians are deficit in protein, as per a study conducted by the Indian Dietetic Association. 93% Indians are unaware of the ideal protein requirement. Nutritionist Pooja Makhija takes to Instagram to talk about ways to ensure optimum protein intake for vegans, vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Know that proteins are the main building blocks of our body. They are needed for healthy weight, muscles, tendons, skin and hair. Proteins are made up of small molecules called amino acids, which are linked together like beans on a string.
How to get adequate protein from diet?
Some of these amino acids are produced by the body. But others must be obtained by eating foods rich in protein. The latter are known as essential amino acids. Animal protein contains all these essential amino acids, in the right ratio, so that the body can make full use of them, says Makhija in the video.
Having said that, vegetarians and vegans needn't worry about their protein intake either. All they need to make small calculated choices to up their protein intake.
What are good sources of vegetarian protein?
Here are some excellent sources of vegetarian protein:
- Pulses and legumes (moong, chana, arhar, chickpeaks, rajma)
- Milk and dairy products (cottage cheese, cheese, milk)
- Nuts and seeds (they provide 6 to 10 gms of protein for every 30 gms of serving size)
- Nut milk and nut butters
- Pseudo cereals (quinoa and amaranth- they provide around 14 gms of protein per 100 gms quantity) - "Most people think of these as a protein option and not carbs. But, they are carb-rich foods with better quality and quantity of protein," says Makhija.
- Soyabean and soy products
- Sprouted pulse flour rotis
- Vegetarian powdered protein like pea protein or brown rice protein to your salads and vegetables.
- Vegetables like peas, broccoli, spinach and asparagus are better sources of protein than other vegetables
- Vegans can also use seitan, which is like a mock meat made out of gluten flour (avoid if you want to not add to your gluten intake)
Apart from these sources, egg whites are also an excellent source of protein. They are high in protein and low in calories. "Each egg white will provide you 4 gms of good quality protein," says Makhija.
How much protein does your body need daily?
On an average, adults need 1 gm of protein per kg body weight, as per the Indian Council of Medical Research. Your requirement of protein can vary as per your weight, body requirement and age.
Beware of high-protein diets
Excessive protein intake can get stored in your body as fat, informs Makhija. "Also, the amino acids from protein breakdown puts extra pressure on kidneys. This can result in poor kidney function. Bad breath, constipation, diarrhoea, dehydration and increased calcium loss are other side effects of eating too protein," she says.
(Pooja Makhija is a nutritionist, dietitian and author)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.