Protein is an important macronutrient that is present in various food items we consume. That being said, the challenge with protein is to recognise its bioavailability and the type of protein that you are consuming. This helps us incorporate a variety of food items that deliver not just complete proteins but also other nutrients alongside.
Khyati Rupani, Founder & Chief Dietician, Balance Nutrition, points out, “Protein deficiency is very common in India; both children and adults are missing out on the adequate amount of protein intake.” She adds that it is essential we understand the importance of this macronutrient, and helps us dispel some common myths related to it.
It Is Difficult To Incorporate Proteins In Every Meal
It is absolutely easy and not too expensive to incorporate protein in all your meals. Proteins can be found in yoghurt, buttermilk, hung yoghurt, pulses, lentils, and more! Various easy delicacies can be prepared out of these, and paired will carbohydrates and good fats.
People On A Plant-Based Diet Cannot Get Enough Protein
Although it is said that there are not many vegetarian complete protein sources out there, we must know the combinations and the types of proteins that can deliver all the amino acids. Milk and milk products, nuts, seeds, and a combination of pulses and rice make for complete proteins.
Proteins Are Only Meant For Muscle Building
Proteins have uses that are far beyond just muscle building. Proteins are important for many functions in the body that are related to digestion, immunity and cognition. They are responsible for formation and regulation of hormones, enzymes, and maintaining the integrity of cell structures. “A protein supplement, although an easy way to incorporate proteins in your diet, should be taken as advised by a professional. The type of protein can make a huge difference, and its intake should be individualised,” warns Rupani.
The More Protein You Eat, The Better
Since proteins have so many functions, people tend to have high protein meals throughout the day, which leads to protein overload. Understand that the body can digest only 25-30 gm of protein in one sitting. Too much of anything can boost your calorie intake and prove to be harmful!
So, how can you ensure that you are having enough protein and how can you avoid protein deficiency? Rupani replies, “It’s simple – protein absorption is facilitated by carbohydrates, and hence it is necessary that we always try to choose balanced meals that deliver and support the nutritional absorption and utilisation of the other. Dal and rice, sambhar and idli, are some of the best and delicious protein combinations. Each meal can contain one serving of milk products and one serving of pulses. It can be in the form of dals, or soups, or even one-dish meals like pastas and sandwiches.” Consuming nuts and seeds in-between meals, having a glass of milk along with super-spices like turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper, deliver several health benefits too.
Most importantly, Rupani advises well-balanced meals. “Lesser consumption of carbohydrates can lead to protein being used for energy expenditure, nullifying the point of consuming good amounts of proteins,” she explains. Awareness about protein consumption is necessary; too much and too less of anything can have negative effects on the body. Consulting a professional will help you create a balance in your meals and within your body. A healthy body can then be up for all the tasks that come in its way.