If one does a diet audit of adults, the following two statements are bound to be largely true:
- They significantly over-consumer Carbohydrates & Sugars
- They significantly under-consumer Proteins
But wait, isn’t protein for buff gym-visiting bodybuilding bros? The answer is a resounding NO. Our diets need protein for many functions including but not limited to repairing & building muscles.
Four Benefits of Protein
- Builds Muscles: Protein is the building block of muscles. Even if we don’t go to the gym (which we should), we lose and damage muscles due to daily activities. It is protein that repairs & builds it.
- Aids Bones: Not just muscles, protein helps in minimizing bone loss too. It won’t grow the bones but people who consume more protein tend to have lesser chances of osteoporosis. This is possibly on account of higher calcium absorption, stronger muscles that protect the bones and certain other effects.
- Prevents Cravings: Protein reduces the hunger hormone (ghrelin) which helps to reduce cravings and gives a sense of satiety. It is not our meals that make us over-weight, it is the unhealthy snacking that adds the extra calories and weight. So protein can help towards maintaining or reducing weight.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: We know consistently high blood pressure is not good for health. High Protein has been shown to reduce blood pressure, so it is potentially a life saver.
How Much Protein?
This is a spectrum and I usually modulate depending on my activity levels. Within these limits, there are very few downsides unless you have specific ailments so always consult your doctor first. I tend to take at least 60-70% of my protein requirements via natural sources like beans, lentils, yogurt and cheese. I supplement the rest via high protein snacks and protein powders.
Plant vs Animal protein?
Choose what suits your personal choices, diet and gut. Having either is better than having lesser protein. Personally, I try to get majority of my protein through plant sources.
So remember, next time life gives you lemons, ask for something higher in protein!
Shagun, Yoga Superfuel
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