Importance of Protein
Protein is an essential part of our diet. Every cell in our body contains protein. Protein helps our body repair itself and function properly. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.
Many of us have personal need to monitor our protein intake due to active engagement in exercise routines and sports. However, one is also forced to monitor protein intake when certain conditions such as lack of energy or low metabolism rate or weight gain arise. Those who follow mindful eating habits always think about ways of getting sufficient nutrition.
Protein component from foods breaks down during digestion into smaller molecules called amino acids. These amino acids are of two kinds, essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids cannot be made by our body, and must be supplied by food. The balance over the whole day is more important. Nonessential amino acids are made by the body from essential amino acids or in the normal breakdown of proteins.
Our body needs amino acids in large amounts in order to maintain good health. This amount may vary for each person depending on age, gender and body type. The balance over the whole day is more important than intake in one single meal.
Some good sources of protein are low fat dairy, eggs, cooked lentils/beans, meat, fish or poultry and whole grains. Some of the Superfood grains with good amount of quality protein are Quinoa, Amaranth, millets and Omega 3 rich Chia seeds. Quinoa is cooked just like rice by cooking it with water and can be seasoned with stir fried vegetables for a healthy tasty meal. Other good sources of protein are, black beans, kidney beans, lentils, Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts and watermelon seeds. Since nuts are high in fat and therefore calorie rich food hence mindful eating is recommended to avoid weight gain.