It is a common misconception that protein is essential only for bodybuilders and athletes. Proteins are, in fact, the building blocks of life, and each one of us needs it. Proteins are vital macronutrients, which are needed for the activity of almost every cell of the human body. They are strings of amino acids that form long chain-like structures called peptides (chain of hundreds of thousands of amino acids).
Bodybuilders and athletes focus on building muscles (more than an average person or non-athlete) and hence might require larger amounts of protein in their diets. While the amount of protein required by a person varies, everyone should include this complex macronutrient in their diet for holistic nutrition.
Why do you need protein?
Your body requires dietary protein to achieve and maintain many essential functions. The functions include building bones, repairing and growing tissues, strengthening the immune system, forming blood cells, and producing hormones. Protein also helps in the growth and development of children, teens, and pregnant women.
How do proteins build muscles?
The amino acids and essential nutrients in proteins help the body rebuild, repair, and refuel the muscle tissues. Also, protein acts as a source of muscle energy when other energy stores are low. The energy from protein is essential for all age groups and the lack of proteins can lead to various health concerns like bone and muscle loss.
How to choose proteins that are right for you?
While choosing a protein source it is important to keep in mind that it should cater to your needs. The RDA for proteins is 0.8 grams per kilogram of your weight. For example, if you weigh 50 kgs, you need 50×0.8= 40 grams of proteins daily.
Here are a few top sources of plant-based proteins for vegetarians:
Dal is a staple diet in almost all Indian households. Lentils, also known as ‘dal’ a great source of plant-based protein for vegetarians. A cooked cup of dal contains almost 18 gms of proteins. Additionally, it is also loaded with dietary fibre and other essential nutrients. Do ensure that you have 1-2 servings of dal everyday.
One cooked cup of chickpeas (chana) contains almost 15 gms of proteins. Chickpeas are extremely versatile and can be had as curries, salads and more.
While the protein content in one cup of green peas is only half that of lentils, it is also a great source of proteins for vegetarians.
Plant-based protein supplements
Having a scoop of proteins everyday can help fulfil your daily protein requirements with ease. What makes protein supplements even more interesting is that you can easily mix them with your daily foods or have them as a smoothie (or just water if that is your preference). OZiva Organic Plant Protein is a clean, plant-based protein that offers many benefits for building muscles and lets the body function better.
Vegetarian diets sometimes lack sufficient amounts of proteins and hence it becomes imperative to add dietary supplements to make up for this. That is why if you’re not getting enough protein in your diet, you should opt for protein powders that will provide necessary nourishment to the body.
You will come across different types of proteins in the market claiming to be the best protein, but you should be careful about selecting one for yourself. Here are two types of protein that vegetarians can choose from:
Whey protein is popular amongst gym-goers, athletes and people who workout regularly. It can be difficult to digest for some people and hence one needs to drink plenty of water. You can also opt for a whey protein powder that is fortified with herbs that helps in better digestion.
Vegetarians and vegans usually opt for plant-based protein powders. You need to select protein powder that contains a combination of different plant-proteins so that all your essential amino acids are fulfilled. If it is further fortified with herbs and superfoods then even better.
Our body has approximately 30% of protein by weight. Hence, you need to include protein in your daily diet to remain healthy and strong. Ensure that you analyse your diet and add protein supplements if needed. You can consult a nutritionist who can guide you on the right dietary plans and supplements.
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And remember, always focus on eating clean and holistic wellness.