I kept talking a lot lately and in my previous articles about the importance of including proteins in our diet. Also, no matter what diet article or path you might want to follow, be prepared to hear the mantra of “include proteins”. Which sounds legit so far, but the question we might ask ourselves at this point is “why on earth should I care so much about proteins?” And on that note let’s dig into the “protein” path!
First of all, let’s take a look what role proteins play in our existence:
- Our body uses proteins in the creation of enzymes, hormones and other chemicals
- Our hair and nails are mostly made of proteins
- They are essential in the well-growth of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and even blood
- They play a role in building and repairing tissues
We can now divide the nutrients into two main categories: macronutrients and micronutrients. Along with carbohydrates and fat, proteins are part of the macronutrient group. Minerals and vitamins are some examples of micronutrients, in order to make a difference. What does this mean? It means that our body needs a great deal of proteins in order to survive.
However, the difference between proteins and carbohydrates or fat is that our body cannot store proteins, therefore we require external sources. And now instead of jumping to the only logical conclusion one might jump to: let’s all start stocking proteins right away, let’s take a better look at what is the right amount of protein that our body requires (since it’s probably less than you might imagine).
To give you a hands on example, I will say that if you go into a restaurant an order an eight ounce steak, you are already way ahead of your daily protein intake your doctor would suggest.
While we are warned by specialists that a long term protein diet might have certain repercussions on our body, a short term high protein diet (up to six months) has some obvious benefits:
- It can help you speed up the recovery time after a workout session
- It can reduce muscle loss
- It can increase satiety (decrease the feeling of hunger)
- Can reduce the general calorie intake by the body
- Can help you build lean muscle
And even at this moment, we cannot simply jump and choose whatever high protein foods we desire. We need to pay attention to the types of proteins we intake. Also, warning sign, consumption of foods such as hot dogs, deli meats and sausages (you get my point) have been linked with higher chances of developing diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular diseases.
So then the questions remains, what sort of foods are the best if we want to increase our protein intake?
Chicken breast (might be my favorite). And if you take out the skin, all the calorie intake comes from proteins.Start adding eggs to your diet. You can consume them as whole eggs but egg whites are basically pure protein.
Almonds are number one, but you can also opt for pistachios or cashews.
Cottage cheese for the cheese lovers amongst my readers (including myself). Plus, it’s also high in calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12 and vitamin B2. Also, dear cheese lovers, mozzarella is also on the list, along with parmesan and Swiss cheese.
If you want a greener option, go for broccoli. One of the best vegetables when it comes to the protein intake, also high in vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber and potassium.
Also, if you want to opt for a diet that is high in proteins, fish cannot miss from your list. Along with proteins, take into account the omega 3 intake.
You can also add beans, peanuts, Brussels sprouts, shrimp, turkey breast, lentils, quinoa and so much more.
All in all, as you can see, choices are endless and if you want to increase your protein intake you can start right away, including some of the healthiest foods from the world. Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of proteins for our system and body so don’t start skipping proteins!