Understanding Protein and Guidelines to Include it in our Diet Wisely
Research says that God has created man with a natural instinct to choose foods in such a way that even children instinctively would combine carbohydrate food with protein food to balance their meal. Today there is so much information about certain specific nutrients that some people just think they have to focus eating one particular item. One man even said, “Antioxidants are so important, can’t I just swallow some tablets instead of so much balanced food”.
Someone wants to eat only protein foods like eggs, milk and meat for all 3 meals while some want to eat only boiled vegetables or only juices throughout the day. There is no good health or fitness without 3 regular meals daily. Also all the 3 meals must be balanced with carbohydrate and protein foods. This is the basic health and fitness statement that every human being of every age above 3 months from birth to death must understand.
Protein is a very important component of the human body. Every cell’s, cell wall in our body, is made of protein. One single new cell cannot be made without protein. We cannot grow without protein we cannot live from day to day and maintain our skin, muscle and hair, etc. tissues without protein. Yet we must be very clear that we cannot live only by eating protein foods. Every human being, every day needs, cereals such as wheat, rice, ragi, etc., fruits, vegetables and even a few grams of fat to sustain day to day life, work and maintain the body.
On an average most people require 60-70gms protein, daily. The body cannot utilize 60-70gms protein at one time, so ideally, it must be distributed in 3 meals. About 20-25gms protein should be present in each meal. Fruits and vegetables, jam, jelly, sugar, are foods that contain almost zero protein. Cereals like wheat, rice, ragi, etc. contain 6-7% protein. Butter, ghee, cream and oil are also almost nil in protein.
Protein is present in all dhals, pulses, soya and nuts. Milk, curd, cheese and paneer contain protein but the quality of protein in this above list is not of such high value as that present in egg white, meats, fish and poultry. 200ml of milk or curd gives you 6gm of protein but try to drink milk which is skimmed so that you get your protein without fat. One cup of cooked dhal or pulses will give you 7-8gm of protein. Soya and nuts are good sources of protein but are very high in their fat content.
Two egg whites will give you 8gms protein while 2 pieces of chicken (100gms) gives you 25gms of protein. 2 pieces of fish gives 20gm protein and 100 gms of beef or mutton give 18-20 gm of protein. However beef and mutton are best avoided as they contain more fat than fish and chicken as well as high amounts of cholesterol which are bad for the heart.
We suggest that you consume at least 500ml of skimmed milk daily, and a cup of dhal or pulse for both lunch and dinner are a must for all. Vegetarians may increase the quantity of skimmed milk and curd to 750ml. Sports people may even have 1 liter of skimmed milk or curd daily. Others may have egg white at breakfast and fish or chicken at lunch. Non-veg is best avoided at dinner. A slice or cube of cheese has 4-5 gm of protein but also 4-5gm of fat, so use sparingly. Be very careful with paneer too as it is very high in fat content.