Protein is important to the body; it is found in most body parts such as the bones, muscles, skin and hair, tissues and organs. Enzymes in the body are made up of amino acids which are building blocks of protein. It also makes up haemoglobin which is the molecule that carries oxygen in the blood and is responsible for the red pigment of the blood. Protein is necessary in maintaining bodily processes.
Recommendations say that adults should consume a minimum of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. It should also constitute 10 to 35 percent of calories per day. Protein is especially needed during childhood due to demands in growth and development. If a person does not take in enough protein from the diet, a type of protein malnutrition may occur, known as kwashiorkor. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity to diseases, heart disease, respiratory problems and even death.
Protein is made up of molecules called amino acids. There are different ways by which the body makes up amino acids: either from building it up on its own or by modifying other sources. Essential amino acids are amino acids needed by the body which can only be taken from food. Protein may come from vegetable or animal sources. Animal sources of protein are good sources of amino acids because vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds may lack one or more essential amino acids. This is why vegetarians must be careful of their protein intake because they don't take in high-protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, poultry and other foods derived from animals.
High protein foods may either be healthy or not healthy. There are high protein foods which have healthy components with them such as healthy fats, or fiber. On the other hand, high protein foods which are not healthy may include components such as harmful fats or salt. Proteins may also be good or bad, since while proteins can keep the body healthy, it can also be responsible for numerous allergies which are due to a overreactive immune system. However, proteins may lead to beneficial health effects because certain studies have shown that high protein diets could lower the risk for certain diseases and premature death.
Research shows that high protein diets may have beneficial effects on heart health, as long as the protein comes from a healthy source. Another study also shows that those who ate low-carbohydrate diets that were high in vegetable sources of fat and protein had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with people who ate high carbohydrate and low-fat diets. High protein diets could also protect from Type 2 diabetes. However there are also some conflicting reports that say that type 1 diabetes can be caused by proteins found in cow's milk. High quality protein can also protect against cancers and osteoporosis. High quality proteins can also help control weight.
If you want to take in protein without taking in additional harmful components from red meat, here are some suggestions on where you can get high amounts of protein. There are vegetables that contain high quality protein along with essential vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients that may have beneficial effects on your health.
Peas contains about seven grams of protein per cup. You can try eating creamy pea soup or stewed peas along with other vegetables
Spinach contains around six grams of protein per cup. It can be eaten through salads, soups, stir-fried or as smoothies.
You can consume baked potatoes which can contain more than three grams of protein. Potato salads are also healthy, especially if combined with eggs and other vegetables.
Broccoli contains two grams of protein per serving and other nutrients such as fiber. It can be mixed with other vegetables.
Each cup of brussel sprouts contain around four grams of protein and other nutrients such as potassium and Vitamin K. You can add other vegetables and spices along with brussel sprouts.
A cup of corn kernels can provide around four grams of protein. You can have it on the cob or mixed with other vegetables as salad or soup.
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