The Important Role Of Protein Rich Foods / Foods Rich In Protein on Our Health
The importance of proteins in human development, growth and muscle healing has been clearly documented, yet many individuals do not consume protein rich foods in adequate amounts to ensure good health. This is especially true in the case of vegetarians who do not benefit from high protein foods, non-vegetarian foods and care must be taken to ensure their diet is customized to provide the daily recommended amounts.
Each cell in our body has proteins in the form of amino acids, and these play a significant role in helping our body repair and make new cells. Proteins are important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence and pregnancy as they make up a significant part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is also found in all body fluids, except urine.
Of the two types of dietary proteins, `complete proteins'
contain all of the nine essential amino acids which the human body cannot synthesize and must therefore get from food, and are found primarily in the following types of protein rich foods - animal foods
such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products (yogurt and cheese). Soybeans are the sole plant proteins that also fall in this category.Incomplete proteins
lack one or more of the essential amino acids needed by our bodies. They are derived mainly from plant sources such as beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and grains; as well as a small amount are found in vegetables.
Incomplete proteins can be combined with other plant or animal proteins to form complete proteins. Rice and beans, rice and lentil, idli/ dosa and sambhar, milk and wheat cereal, pasta and cheese and cheese sandwiches are good examples of protein combination's which yield complete protein rich foods.
When choosing protein rich foods, it is preferable to select lean meat, poultry without skin, fish, dried beans, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products more often. These are the protein choices that are the lowest in fat.Very high intake of protein
can over time be a burden on the kidneys; it can lead to osteoporosis and in susceptible individuals increase risk of developing kidney stones and gout. A high intake of protein from red meat or shellfish also raises the risk of elevated cholesterol levels.
Sustained inadequate protein rich foods intake
over time leads to poor growth, loss of muscle tissue, skin problems, increased risk of infection due to poor immunity, early fatigue and listlessness.
The importance of a nutritionally balanced diet that provides
adequate protein is therefore critical. So, how much quantity of protein rich foods should we consume daily?The amount of recommended daily protein rich foods varies with age and gender.
| Age|| Grams/day|| Grams/kilograms/day|
| 1-3 years|| 13 g/day|| 1.10 g/kg/day|
| 4-8|| 19 g/day|| 0.95 g/kg/day|
| 9-13|| 34 g/day|| 0.95 g/kg/day|
|Source: Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board: Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein and amino acids. Washington DC, 2002, National Academy Press. |
The following are the recommended serving sizes of protein rich foods for:
Children 1 to 6 years of age: 2 to 4 ounces (60-120g) of cooked meat, fish and poultry in a day (about the size of a deck of playing cards)
Adolescents 13-18yrs of age: 5.5 to 7 ounces (170-210g) of cooked meat, fish or poultry in a day.
Note: The following may also be substituted for 1 ounce of meat, fish or poultry: 1 egg, 2 tbsp peanut butter, or ½ cup cooked legumes.
Approximate protein content of some commonly eaten protein rich foods:
|Food||Protein content in grams|
|Cheese, 1 oz||7g|
|Chicken, 1 oz||7g|
|Hamburger patty, 3 oz cooked||21g|
|Beans (Kidney, lentils, garbanzo), ½ cup cooked||7g|
|Milk, low fat, 1cup||8g|
|Egg, 1 whole||7g|
|Yogurt, 2/3 to 1 cup||8g|
|Peanut butter, 2 tbsp||7g|
|Peas, ½ cup||4g |
|Edamame, ½ cup||7g|
|Tofu, ½ cup||7g|
|Sambhar, 1 cup||10g |
|Fish, cooked by steaming or dry heat, 1 oz||7g|
|Tuna fish, canned in water, drained, 1 oz||7g|
|The more active your child, the greater their need for protein rich foods, please contact one of our nutritionists if your child is in competitive sports to find out protein requirements before, during, and after a sports event.|
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