Last month, we had a chat with celebrity fitness trainer, Vinod Channa, who strongly advocated the need for protein in building a healthy, fit body. This month, we received more advice on the importance of protein – this time from Vallari Shah, a Mumbai based Nutritionist and Dietitian.
She highlighted the body’s non-negotiable need for protein daily as well as her recommended sources for getting it. Here’s what she had to say:
On Protein’s Purpose And Its Importance
“Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids, of which nine are considered ‘essential’, which the body cannot make them and therefore needs to be sourced from the food we eat. The other 12 are classed as ‘non-essential’ and can be produced within your body. ‘High-quality proteins’ such as eggs and meat offer more muscle-building amino acids than other protein foods and are therefore considered more valuable sources of protein, particularly if you do a lot of exercises.
Our body’s protein requirement also varies; depending on the activity or the sport we play. Individuals who partake in endurance sports like running marathons, swimming, gymnastics etc. require a protein intake of 1.2 to 1.5g /kg per of body weight /day.
Whereas, activities like hockey, cricket, basketball, football, volleyball, boxing etc. require a higher protein intake of 1.4 to 1.8 g /kg of body weight/day.”
Sources of proteins:
“Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein and a medium sized egg contains about 6.5 grams of protein.
Fish & seafood: Fish is a good source of protein and even contain iron & Vitamin B12. Some of the fish are also a power-packed source of omega-3 fatty acids
Nuts: Apart from being a good source of Protein, they are also low in saturated fats and contain Vitamin E and other anti-oxidants
Legumes: Beans, lentils and soybeans form a great source of plant or vegan proteins
Milk & Milk products: Milk & Milk products are packed with proteins. They contain Whey protein and casein which is also protein.”
Chicken: The Protein Powerhouse
For non-vegetarians, Shah especially recommends chicken, saying “in 100 grams of chicken breast contains about 30grams (approximately) of protein in 100gms i.e. 70% of daily value, which is one of the highest sources of protein obtain from food.
She went on to further explain the reasons chicken is considered a brilliant protein source, saying “chicken contains the nine types of essential amino acids for protein synthesis that our body cannot make itself and so we need to get them from food sources. It is the best natural and organic supply of proteins for the body making it the best source people involved in strength training or athletes.”
So, if you’re a non-vegetarian, be sure you have a healthy amount of chicken in your diet. Check out these recipes for a dozen chicken preparation ideas.