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Balanced diet and protein

Published on: Jun 22, 2021

Have you ever thought about whether your diet is inclusive of all the macronutrients such as protein, carbohydrate, fat and micronutrients like minerals, vitamins etc which are necessary for our body? Well-balanced nutritious food is essential for sustaining life and activity. Our diet must be from diverse sources so as to provide all essential nutrients in the required amounts.

A typical Indian diet consisting of cereal pulses, milk, vegetables and oil. There are still 27% of Indians which have inadequate amount of protein in their diet which results in protein energy malnutrition (PEM). Growing infants and children, pregnant women and individuals during illness or stress also require more proteins in their diet. All those with mindful eating habits always have well diversified diet which brings them sufficient amounts of macro and micro-nutrients.

Proteins are complex molecules made up of various amino acids. Our body gets “essential” amino acids, from proteins in the diet while nonessential amino acids are synthesized in the body.

Dairy like milk, curd, yogurt, poultry, fish and eggs and plant foods such as pulses and legumes are rich sources of proteins. Some examples of protein content in different food items are as given below:

Foods

Serving size (g)

Protein (g)

Carbohydrate (g)

Fat (g)

Cereals & millets*

30

3.0

20

0.8

Pulses*

30

6.0

15

0.7

Eggs*

50

7.0

-

7.0

Meat/poultry/fish*

50

9.0

-

7.0

Milk & milk products*

100

3.0

5.0

3.0

Chia

48

8.0

22

16.0

  • Data from National Institute of Nutrition’s Dietary guidelines

All proteins sources are not similar. Usually, proteins from animal sources have more complete amino acid profiles as compared to protein from plant sources. Plant proteins in right combinations of cereals, millets, pulses, Seeds and nuts tend to provide overall better-quality proteins. Chia has a rare full amino acid profile same as meat proteins. In equal serving size Chia packs, more protein than eggs and is a great egg substitute for baking. Its always a good a good to carefully choose protein rich food in your diet along with combination of whole grains, pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables.

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