What is protein?
The benefits of protein are numerous. But before we get there, we should try to understand - what is protein?
They are one of the essential components present in your diet, as well as every cell that builds your body.
- Proteins can be touted as the building blocks of the body because they are used in building and repairing tissues.
- Hair and nails are mostly made out of protein, whereas a lot of other vital components of the human body comprise various types of proteins.
Proteins are one of the essential elements of the bones, skin, blood, muscles, and cartilage and also help the body to manufacture hormones, enzymes, and other necessary chemicals.
Why do we need it?
Now it is of utmost importance to know- why do we need protein?
Well, proteins are unarguably one of the essential food components along with carbohydrates and fats.
- Proteins are generally known as “Macronutrients” as our body requires relatively large quantities of them. Unlike Vitamins and Minerals, which are known as “Micronutrients,” the body needs a lot of protein to build itself and perform
But the body cannot store proteins like fats and carbohydrates and cannot retrieve them when the need arises.
- A diet that consists of the right amount of protein helps you to lose excess fat and build bone and muscle mass.
Apart from increasing your strength, the protein-rich diet assists in lowering blood pressure, fighting diabetes, and the like.
What are high protein foods?
High protein foods that you can include in your diet consists of eggs, almonds, chicken breasts, oats, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, lean beef, tuna, quinoa, etc. having a balanced diet with a right amount of proteins thrown in it will positively affect you and invigorate your body.
Amongst the high protein foods, eggs are considered as one of the most wholesome sources of protein.
- If you want to understand exactly how much protein in an egg is present, then it could amount to around 6 grams for a large egg and roughly 78 calories. Whole eggs are incredibly nutritious and one of the healthiest foods available. Apart from being excellent sources for protein, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and brain nutrients. Though whole eggs are rich in proteins, it is the egg whites that contain pure protein in the form of majorly Ovalbumin and Ovotransferrin, Ovomucoid, Ovomucin, and Lysozyme amongst others.
Amongst other high-protein foods, which can also double up as tasty and healthy, chicken breasts are the most popular.
- The protein in chicken breasts amounts to almost 75% of the calories. A roasted chicken breast without the skin provides you with 53 grams of protein and has an approximate calorific value of 284 calories. You can always indulge in chicken breasts as your preferred sources of protein as they are easy to cook and delicious.
How much protein per day?
Now it might cross your mind - how much protein is enough? How much protein do I need?
- We have all come across the notion that excess protein helps in providing extra strength by building more muscle mass. But this is nothing but a myth. The only way to build a strong core and hefty muscle mass is through exercise.
Our bodies need a modest amount of protein to perform all the necessary physiological actions smoothly. Extra protein does not always mean extra strength. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, a list has been provided which exhibits the protein requirement of individuals according to their age, sex, and work capacity.
- Active men and teenage boys and can get all the protein they need from three daily servings for a total of 7 ounces or 199 grams roughly.
- For children aged 2 to 6, most women, and some older people, the government recommends two daily servings or 142 grams roughly.
- For older children, teen girls, active women, and most men, the guidelines give the nod to two daily servings or 170 grams.
Vegan foods high in protein
Apart from the protein-rich foods mentioned above, there is also a host of high protein vegan foods.
With people becoming environmentally conscious and shifting to more and more plant-based products and giving up on animal products, vegan protein sources are growing in popularity.
- Soy products like firm tofu, tempeh, and edamame are amongst the richest sources of protein in a plant-based diet. The protein content varies with the preparation of the soy product. Apart from that, red and green lentils, cooked chickpeas, peanuts, almonds, spirulina, and quinoa act as formidable sources of proteins.
Protein in urine
Often it is seen that the excess amount of protein that enters your body through the food that you take is discharged through various excretory functions of the body.
- In essence, the presence of protein in urine when pregnant is a common occurrence for most of the nursing women. The presence of small amounts of protein is not a cause to worry and only denotes that the kidneys are actually working harder than usual.
But abnormal levels of proteinuria or the presence of protein in the urine of pregnant women could be potentially dangerous. It could either mean that there is a Urinary Tract Infection or the development of Pre-eclampsia, and you should immediately seek your doctor’s counsel on these.
The presence of protein in urine in typical situations denotes a condition called proteinuria.
- If the protein levels are consistently high in urine, it could either mean kidney damage or a host of other conditions. These include diabetes, urinary tract infection, high blood pressure, lupus, and even certain types of cancer. If you are apprehending any of these, you should immediately take a protein in a urine test and get the results checked by your doctor. Though protein is exceptionally beneficial for the body, it is crucial to regulate the intake of protein and take it in moderation. This will keep your body healthy and performing to the best of your potential.
Our other articles: