A healthy diet leads to a healthy lifestyle, and this stands true for everyone – be it everyday athletes, gym-goers or bodybuilders. Protein is one of the major contributors to an individuals’ general health and well-being. As macronutrients, they are vital for various bodily functions. They are known as the building blocks of the body and help build muscle & strength, repairs tissues, makes hormones etc. In short, healthy sources of protein in your daily diet is one of the topmost requirements that you can’t ignore.
Below let’s look at the benefits of protein to better understand its importance. We have also listed a few protein-rich snacks and foods you could add to your daily diet.
A] Reasons Why Protein is Important
A protein-rich diet provides abundant benefits. Listed below are five compelling reasons that highlight the importance of protein.
1. Growth and Maintenance: Protein helps in the growth of muscles and maintenance of body tissues. Depending on the amount of protein your body needs to perform everyday activities, your body breaks down the same amount of protein it uses to build and repair tissues. In case of illness or during and after pregnancy, more protein is broken down than created, thus increasing your body’s needs.
2. Build and Oxygenate: Protein is considered an important building block. It builds and gives structure to the bones, muscles, cartilage, and even the skin by providing the necessary stiffness and rigidity (collagen). Your hair and nails comprise large amounts of protein too, known as Keratin. Most importantly, the protein compounds present in red blood cells are carriers of oxygen. They help transfer oxygen and carry nutrients throughout the body.
3. Biochemical Reaction: Protein works as enzymes, which are essential for the biochemical reactions that occur within and outside the cells. Several bodily functions depend on the output of the chemical reactions performed by these enzymes. These functions include digestion, energy production, blood clotting, and muscle contraction. Protein plays an important role in regulating hormones, especially during puberty, to development cells.
4. Enhances Immunity: Antibodies are types of protein found in the blood that protects the body from several bacteria and viruses. Without these antibodies, bacteria and viruses can multiply, compromising your immunity.
Read: Immunity: A Marathon not a Sprint
B] Daily Protein Intake: How Much is Needed?
The daily intake of protein varies from individual to individual. Below is the recommended daily intake an individual requires (by age) to prevent deficiency.
- Children under the age of 4 need 13 grams, while kids between the age of 4-8 years need 19 grams of protein.
- Children within the bracket of 9-13 of age need 34 grams.
- Girls from 14-18 years require 46 grams, while boys between the same age group require 52 grams of protein.
- An adult male requires about 56 grams of protein a day.
- An adult woman needs approximately 46 grams of protein daily, which increases to 71 grams if she is pregnant or breastfeeding.
C] High Protein Foods To Eat
Here are some high-protein foods that you can eat to prevent deficiency. This list also includes healthy high protein snacks that you can munch on before a meal, before a workout session, or at work or school.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are good sources of protein that help regulate body weight. Nuts are a delicious source of plant-based protein and packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. They are one of the easiest ways to eat protein snacks on the go. Peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds are the best examples of high-protein nuts.Check out our range of healthy trail mix that includes the goodness of nuts, berries, and seeds.Seeds, on the other hand, contain a high quotient of amino acids and are a rich source of protein. Hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are a few healthy, edible seeds.
- 5-Grain Plant Protein Breakfast Cereal: Plant protein contain low calories and fats compared to animal protein. They are beneficial for weight loss and improves overall health.Our 5-grain plant protein breakfast cereal is an excellent alternative to corn flakes. It consists of five ancient grains – jowar, finger millet, wheat, amaranth, and rice. It is a powerhouse of protein, calcium, iron and fibre and a great choice for a protein-rich diet.
- Greek Yoghurt: Greek yoghurt naturally contains a high amount of protein. It is also loaded with many nutrients like calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, etc., offering a variety of health benefits.
- Protein Bars: Protein bars are popular protein-rich snacks and a convenient source of nutrition for all. They help curb hunger pangs, foster weight loss, and boost energy levels.
Ontherun protein bars are made from 100% whey protein, is soy-free, and are available in different flavours. They contain no added sugar or preservatives, which makes them the ideal choice for everyday athletes, especially women.
- Beans: Beans are loaded with fibre-rich nutrients and an excellent source of protein. One serving of cooked beans can provide about 7 grams of protein. They also keep you satiated for a longer time.
- Eggs: Eggs are a rich source of protein, especially egg whites. They are easy to absorb and provide other essential vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and antioxidants. One egg can provide 6.3 grams of protein.
Protein is vital for body functions. Right from repairing and maintenance of tissues to enhancing metabolism, improving immunity, and more. These bodily functions collectively make protein one of the most significant nutrients that is required to stay healthy and fit.