Well-Balanced Diet Essentials: Protein.

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The importance of a well-balanced diet cannot be overestimated. We all know that in order for our body to function, it needs a variety of nutrients. One of the essentials we need to include in our diet is well known protein.

It bears an extremely important function in our body, often called the building blocks of human body. And no wonder, our skin, bones, muscles, hair, nail and cartilage are made mainly of it. This macro-nutrient is also an important source of energy and helps maintain our body in a state of homeostasis. On top of that, it helps regulate hormones and supports our immune system.

Long story short, we can’t do without it!

Our body is able to synthesize most of protein itself, except from one, called essential amino acids. Those can only be obtained from our diet, the most complete source of it being meat. Fortunately, there are many sources of protein available for vegetarians as well, with soy and quinoa being the most comprehensive ones.

Here’s a list of quality plant-based sources of protein:

  • Quinoa
  • Legumes,
  • Seeds,
  • Nuts,
  • Spirulina,
  • Organic Soy products,
  • Nutritional Yeast.
Variety of Soy Products

 

If you’re a vegetarian, makes sure to include a variety of those ingredients in your diet in order to provide your body with all the essential amino acids it needs!

If you are meat eater, make sure you include these in your diet as well.

Why?

According to Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource publication on alternate protein sources, individuals that consume mainly plant-based foods have lower blood pressure and cholesterol. They also have reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Sounds convincing, right?

Now…

How much of protein do we need to consume?

Here’s a simple calculation that can help you figure out the amount of this macro-molecule you need to have daily:

Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 (to get your weight in Kg). Then multiply this number by 0.8. The recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams per kg of body weight.

Or just go to that online calculator:

https://www.boost.com/protein?gclid=Cj0KCQjwx8fOBRD7ARIsAPVq-NmzJK20BVpricqG1HkunZYlJudrA4OXHamfi45cDvSgzkYRC0zY_UkaAm-REALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Most people need 10%-35% of their calorie intake from protein, but it varies depending on different factors. If you’re sick or do some intense physical activity, the percentage increases. Nonetheless, it’s better not to go over the recommended amount as excess those essential amino acids are stored in our body as fat, not as muscles.

Now, that you know all about it, it’s time to cook some delicious and nutritious meals!

Check out these recipes for inspiration:

http://www.foodmatters.com/recipe/nut-butter-lover-protein-shake-recipe

http://www.foodmatters.com/recipe/smashed-avo-with-quinoa-sauteed-greens

http://www.foodmatters.com/recipe/quick-and-healthy-post-workout-snacks-recipes

http://www.peanutbutterandfitness.com/protein-style-thai-turkey-wraps/

 

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