It won’t be an exaggeration to say that protein is the buzzword in the world of health and fitness. You will find fitness enthusiasts looking to sneak in some amount of protein in every food they consume. Ever wondered why? It is because protein is an essential nutrient that is required for a variety of functions in the body. It is one of the three macronutrients (the other two being carbohydrates and fats) and plays a crucial role in our overall nourishment. Protein provides our body with the building blocks it needs to repair and maintain the muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. Hence, experts suggest including protein in our daily diet to keep up the balance.
Also read: High-Protein Diet: 7 Protein-Rich Snack Recipes For Vegetarians
Why is protein important? 5 reasons why you need protein in your daily diet:
1. Build and repair tissues
Protein is essential for maintaining and repairing our body tissues. Our body is continually breaking down and rebuilding our muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. Protein is said to provide the necessary building blocks in this process.
2. Provide enzymes and hormones
Protein is involved in the production of enzymes, hormones, and other molecules that are critical for our health. Many enzymes and hormones in the body are made up of protein. These molecules play a critical role in processes such as digestion, metabolism, and the regulation of bodily functions.
3. Promote immunity
Protein is important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Certain types of protein, such as antibodies, are essential for strengthening immunity. They help the body recognise and fight off foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
4. Aid weight loss
Protein also plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy weight. When we consume protein, it takes longer to digest (than carbohydrates or fats), meaning, we feel full for a longer span of time. This can help us reduce our overall calorie intake, further aiding weight loss or weight management.
5. Boost energy
Protein can be broken down and used for energy in the body. While carbohydrates and fats are the body’s primary sources of energy, protein can be used as a backup source when necessary.
How much protein do we need daily?
The amount of protein we need depends on various factors, such as our age, gender, weight, and activity level. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), adults should aim to consume a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, this is a minimum requirement, and some individuals, such as athletes, may require more protein to support their training and recovery, WHO further states.
Also read: What Is Lean Protein? 7 Foods Rich In Lean Protein You Can Add To Daily Diet
5 cheap and affordable sources of protein to stash in your pantry:
Considering the benefits of protein in our everyday life, we bring a list of everyday food options that you can stash in the pantry for whenever you need them. These foods are affordable, easily accessible and can be used in your everyday meal. Take a look.
1. Dal (Lentil)
Dal is a staple in Indian cuisine. Dal is rich in protein, fibre, and other nutrients, making it a great ingredient to add to any meal. There are different types of dal available, including masoor dal, moong dal, kali dal and more – each of these lentils comes with a unique taste and texture. Click here for some of our favourite dal recipes to add to your meal.
2. Chana (Chickpea)
Chickpea, also known as chana, is another protein-packed staple in Indian cuisine. It is high in fibre, iron, and other nutrients, making it an excellent option to add to any diet. Besides, it is delicious too. You can use chana in a variety of dishes, including chana masala, chana dal, and falafel. Click here for some delicious chana-based recipes for you to try.
Paneer is possibly one of the most popular food ingredients among Indians (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian). It is rich in protein and calcium and is commonly used in many Indian dishes, including palak paneer, paneer tikka, and paneer makhani. Paneer can also be added to salads or used as a protein source in sandwiches and wraps. We have curated a list of some popular paneer-based dishes that make for a wholesome meal any time of the day. Click here to know more.
Eggs are man’s best friend and there’s no denying it. It is versatile and wholesome and enriches you with a good amount of protein and other nutrients. An egg is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D and choline. Besides, you can prepare countless dishes with an egg or two. Here’re some healthy ways to include protein in your diet. Click here for the recipes.
5. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fats. They can be used in a variety of Indian dishes, including salads, curries, and rice dishes. Some common nuts and seeds used in Indian cuisine include almonds, cashews, pistachios, and walnuts. We bring you some smart ways to include more nuts in your meal. Click here to know more.
Now that you have the list handy, incorporate these protein-packed Indian pantry staples into your diet and enjoy good health. But always remember, moderation is the key. Eat healthy, stay fit!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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