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FOOD PROCESSING

Natural protein-rich food that can substitute supplements
Tuesday, 14 May, 2024, 15 : 00 PM [IST]
Ritika Samaddar
Protein is essential for overall wellbeing as it serves as the building blocks for muscles, tissues, and hormones, aids in metabolism regulation, supports immune function, and provides sustained energy. While many people rely on protein supplements for convenience, the newly released dietary guidelines by Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) advise against their use for building body mass. This underscores the importance of understanding and prioritizing natural protein sources.

As a seasoned dietitian, I consistently advise my clients to steer clear of protein supplements and instead prioritize natural protein sources like almonds. These alternatives offer numerous health benefits without any side effects, contributing to overall well-being. In this article, I'll be sharing some natural protein sources that are not only highly nutritious but also easy to incorporate into your diet.

Almonds are a protein powerhouse and an excellent natural source of this essential nutrient. They are incredibly nutritious and versatile, making them a popular choice for adding protein to your diet. Packed with 15 essential nutrients including protein, healthy fats, fibre, vitamin E, and magnesium, almonds offer a wide range of health benefits. In fact, a recently published study funded by the Almond Board of California, called the Witard study, revealed that consuming almonds reduced certain feelings of muscle soreness during exercise recovery. Whether added to salads, trail mixes, granola, or enjoyed on their own as a snack, almonds provide a convenient and delicious way to boost your protein intake and support overall health.

Lentils are indeed a cornerstone in many diets, prized for their high protein content, versatility in cooking, and rich nutritional profile. Packed with protein, fibre, and essential nutrients like iron and folate, lentils offer a nutritious boost to any meal. From hearty soups and stews to refreshing salads and flavourful veggie burgers, lentils can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes, making them an excellent protein option.

Greek yogurt is another protein-rich food that can be a valuable addition to any diet. It contains more protein than regular yogurt and is also a good source of calcium and probiotics. Enjoy Greek yogurt as a snack or use it as a base for smoothies, dips, and dressings to increase your protein intake in a delicious way.

Eggs, a versatile protein source, offer approximately 6 grams of protein per large egg and are also rich in vitamins B12, D, and choline. Whether scrambled, boiled, poached, or used in various recipes like omelettes, frittatas, and baked goods, eggs are a convenient and nutritious protein option.

Poultry and fish are both excellent sources of protein, essential for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance. Fish, in particular, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, contributing to heart health, brain function, and immune system support. Hence, incorporating both poultry and fish into your diet can promote overall well-being and support a healthy lifestyle.
Quinoa, a gluten-free whole grain, is also a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Incredibly versatile, quinoa can be used in various dishes, including salads, stir-fries, and pilafs. Rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals, quinoa is a nutritious addition to any meal plan.

(The author is regional head- Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics at Max Healthcare)
 
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