A new season is here! We have the perfect outfit, shoes, make-up and even an amazing hair styles lined up. The only problem is that not everything always feels fine. Has it ever happened that even though your day it set to be amazing, it really does not feel that good? If you feel foggy, weak, get sick often, you are craving sweets or even worst as in your hair falling out, then you may be suffering from protein deficiency. While it is true most Americans do not show signs of protein deficiency, that does not mean it doesn’t happen. Within the fashion world there are many of us who are very focused on calorie intake, fat, sugars, and so many who avoid animal products. This is all fine, however within that we may become on and off victims of misinformation which may lead us into doing more harm than good.
So what exactly is protein and what is its role in the human body?
Protein is within our body tissue and accounts for up to 20% of our body weight. This very important component is closely linked to our DNA, helps us strengthen our immune system, build muscles, and ligaments. It also helps strengthen hair and nails. It is no wonder those who have protein deficiency also could experience hair loss, or thinning hair. During digestion the consumption of protein creates amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that form a complete protein. Only 9 of these amino acids the body cannot produce on its own. While there are many who prefer to get their protein and amino acids by meat consumption, plant based diets can get you there too. What matters here is that you get plenty of them. Here are 10 plant based proteins which can bring more variety to your meals and still keep you healthy and satisfied:
- Quinoa: 8 grams of protein per cooked cup. All you have to do is cook 1 cup to 2 cups of water. Within 15 minutes its ready to be enjoyed. You can add flavor to it as you would with rice. Unlike rice. Quinoa tastes amazing cold too. It has tons of fiber, iron, and magnesium.
- Hempseed: 10 grams of protein per 2 tbsp of servings. There is not narcotic feeling that comes from it, just plenty of fiber, magnesium, zin, and omegas. These fantastic seeds have a nutty flavor and go well in your smoothies, salads and even soups.
- Chia seeds: 4 grams of protein per 2 tbsp of servings. The tiny South American seeds are a powerhouse. Originally used by Andean tribes and runners. They are packed with fiber, nutrients, and iron. The work great as eggs substitutes, pudding and smoothies.
- Peas: 3 1/2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. These could go great with quinoa or just a side of veggies. Get creative. It doesn’t hurt that they also have fiber.
- Spinach: 3 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. This fantastic vegetable contains tons of iron also, and it goes well in your salads, smoothies or cooked with garlic…yum!
- Baked or boiled potato: 3 grams of protein per 1 medium size potato. Have fun with the toppings, and don’t overdo the salt. Potatoes are best to be purchased organic so you can take advantage of eating the skin. Potato skin is very high in fiber.
- Broccoli: 2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. Another fiber powerhouse, it goes great for those who are on a healthy food plan. Broccoli goes best steamed, so you can retain its nutrients.
- Brussels Sprouts: 2 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. They go amazingly baked with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Corn: 2 grams of protein in 1/2 cup of kernels. Basically seen as a grain, it is also rich in fiber. Surprisingly enough it tastes amazing when raw, as long as its organic. I eat it right off the cob when nobody is watching.
- Chickpeas or Garbanzo Beans: 7.3 grams per 1/2 cup. high in fiber, yet low in calories. Hard to go wrong with it. Wether is pureed and made into hummus or just thrown is a salad, there is no need for meat when chickpeas are around, unless you want it that way.
While eating too little protein has its repercussions, eating too much of it has its repercussions too. On a daily basis, anything over 46 grams from women is too much and anything over 56 grams for men is too much. It is important to notice that 3 ounces of meat equals to 21 grams of protein. The lesson here is excess protein creates excess weight. Additionally, too much protein puts stress on the hearts. Other side effects of protein overconsumption are: fatigue, dehydration, dizziness, palpitations, and bad breath. Always keep in mind that focusing too much on one nutrient may make you deficient in another. If you have any questions about nutrients and protein you can email me to firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Andrade is a New York based Certified Holistic Health Counsellor. She graduated from The Institute of Integrative Nutrition and has been building her wellness coaching practice as well as integrating Pilates and other body healing technique. Maria’s personal nutritional philosophy is based on the concept of bio-individuality. Nutrition should be tackled according to the unique characteristics of the individual, such as ethnicity, blood type, and activity levels. She also bases her healing practice on numerous dietary theories.
Maria co-founded TotalBodyFit in 2008, in the hopes of bringing her message to a larger audience by conducting the health counselling, fitness classes, and massage therapy right in the client’s home, office or resident lounge. She leads TotalBodyFit’s nutrition workshops, corporate, and cooking events. She is available for one on one nutritional counselling.
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