Why proteins are important for good health
The strategic nutrient for good health
Everyone wants to look slim but this should never be at the cost of your health. It’s more important to achieve optimum fitness so that your body can withstand the stresses of modern day life such as stress, pollution, ageing and negative hereditary predispositions. Now the question arises: how can we achieve this optimum fitness level?
Essentially, achieving fitness is a combination of three key factors:
- A positive mental attitude;
- Physical exercise; and
- A proper diet.
It should be understood that if any one of these factors is missing it will delay your target of becoming healthily thin.
Having a positive mental attitude fine tunes your brain to achieve anything you strongly desire. If today you decide to be forever fit and healthy then let me tell you nothing will ever come in your way!
Any kind of weight bearing exercise such as brisk walking, cycling, steps and aerobics or a gym-based cardio-vascular-fitness program not only helps us expend calories but has hidden benefits which become apparent only if we are persistent in our efforts. Regular exercise helps us by:
- Increasing our BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate);
- Working as an anti-depressant;
- Increasing blood flow and oxygenation;
- Increasing calcium deposition on bones; and
- Building muscles. Greater muscles means higher consumption of energy
It’s equally important to eat a nutritious diet to assist weight loss. The whole idea of nutrition is nothing but a simple balance between various nutrients. These are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. So when a person needs to lose weight, the most important nutrient to be considered is protein Protein in involved in almost all the major functions of our body. A deficiency or lack of it can cause:
- Hair loss;
- Hormonal imbalance;
- Premature aging;
- Water retention;
- Growth retardation in children and teenagers;
- Low immunity;
- Low energy levels; and
- A drop in intelligence.
Protein is such an important and strategic nutrient that both too much and too little is harmful. So whenever a diet chart is prepared for weight loss, the focus is on protein sufficiency. Protein foods are mainly pulses such as Bengal gram (chana), green gram (moong), red gram (toor), moth beans (matki), dry peas (vatana), kidney beans (rajmah), soyabean, black gram (urad), lentil (masoor), and nuts and dairy products for vegetarians, though we do get small amount from cereals too. For non-vegetarians there are more sources of protein such as eggs, meat, chicken and fish. Fruits and vegetables are very poor sources of protein.
Pulses on their own are not considered to have a high biological value of protein as they lack one or two essential amino acids (that makes up the protein). But when they are combined with cereals like wheat, corn, rice, jowar and bajra they become a complete protein. Thus it’s important to eat a combination of cereals and pulses to give our bodies a proper set of protein. It’s very important for vegetarians to consume milk or milk products such as curd or paneer because it not only gives them a high biological valve of protein but also calcium, which is essential for bone health. For vegetarians, milk and milk products are the only source of vitamin B 12, an important vitamin that prevents neurological disturbances, loss of balance, muscle weakness, poor vision, mood disturbances and megaloblastic anemia. All non-vegetarian food sources are typically rich in good quality protein and vitamin B12.