Proteins are essential building blocks of the body. The body uses it to build muscles and organs, deliver oxygen to cells all over the body, and keep the immune system working.
Most people should get at least 10 per cent of their daily calories from protein. That’s about 56 grams for a man (based on 2,000 calories a day) and 43 grams for a woman (1,800 calories a day).
Good sources of protein
Meat is a good source, but you should not overdo it, especially the fatty kind. Too much fatty meat can make you gain weight and lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blocked arteries and other health problems.
You can get protein from other foods, too, like yoghurt, eggs, beans, and even vegetables. In fact, vegetables can give you all you need as long as you eat different kinds and plenty of them.
A half-cup of cooked lentils has nine grams of protein. Cook them with caramelised onions and wild mushrooms for a meat-like texture, without the meat.
It’s plentiful this rainy season, so stock up as much as possible to boost your protein intake. Corn can be eaten in different ways- steamed, roasted or grilled. It can be eaten alone or with coconut, groundnut and pear.
A dab of butter and a sprinkle of salt and you have a yummy treat. One large ear has almost four grams of protein.
Steam them with nothing but a sprinkling of salt for a protein-packed snack: up to 30 grams per cup. That’s about what you’d get from a three-ounce serving of chicken.
They have some of the highest protein available among vegetables – about five grams of protein per cup. Stir-fry them with some tempeh, onions, and hot peppers for a spicy vegetarian feast that’s protein-packed.
A large baked potato has about eight grams of protein. But watch the butter and sour cream- they can pile on the fat and calories. Try it with some chilli made with low-fat ground turkey or tofu crumbles instead. And add lots of beans to that chilli for an even bigger protein hit.
You might already know spinach as a popular “super food”, but now you can eat it knowing that it is also a great source of protein, too. This vegetable is loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and within that deep dark green colour is also plenty of protein.
A cup of cooked white mushrooms has about 3.5 grams of protein. Sautee them with garlic and chilli flakes, and mix with pasta for a traditional Mediterranean treat.
These tiny cabbages pack two grams of protein into each half-cup. Roast them with onions and garlic and a little olive oil. You can even add a bit of bacon for flavour and more protein.