Sunday, 11 November 2012

9 Super Foods to Increase Protein Intake

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...
Foods for protein intakePhoto Credit Wikipedia
For last 5-6 years I have focused on various aspects of fitness and nutrition. After a thorough research, I am able to pin point where the bug stops.

The major reason for weight gain, I found, was over-abundance of carbohydrates in the diet. The other equally important reason was lack of enough protein.
Not convinced? For a day, just see what you eat throughout the day and you will know what I am talking about. For vegetarians things are even worse. There is no denying that vegetarians lack adequate protein intake. We have loving moms who never stop serving us piping hot chappatis. We have grand moms who are always ready to pour in butter in our rice preparations. Husbands have wives who make them finish up the things so that nothing is left over in the night.
I have nothing against such approaches. Neither did I disregard the love of women we have in our lives. But we must understand what is good for us and what is not so good. If we want that attractive physique/figure we must consume enough protein as well.
So what it is that we can do to increase our protein intake? What are the various alternatives that give us adequate protein and still do not put pressure on our pockets? It may look complicated but actually it is much simpler than most people think. There are so many vegetarian sources available for everyone. You can add these super foods that will supply you quality protein and can be easily included in your diet.
  1. Almonds: This is my favorite source of protein. Soak about 12-15 almonds every night before going to bed. Eat these almonds the first thing in the morning. It will not only give you some essential amino acids, but also give you some essential fatty acids that are in their purest form.
  2. Peanuts: Carry about 100 gms roasted peanuts all the time. instead of munching on fast food with evening tea or coffee, have fistful of these peanuts. Make sure they are not salted or else it will unnecessarily increase  Sodium intake. You can also add roasted and crushed peanuts to any preparation like pulses and vegetables. This will make these dishes more delicious.
  3. Peanut butter: One of the best sources of digestible protein. Use it as a chapattis bread spread instead of plain butter.
  4. Milk: Drink at least a glass of milk in a day. Don't focus on skimmed one. It actually doesn't make much of a difference.
  5. Yogurt: Make it a point to add at least a bowl of low-fat yogurt in your daily diet. It is another great source of protein and calcium. The lactose-bacillus bacteria present in yogurt improves digestion and aids in proper functioning of the digestive system.
  6. Protein Powder: Mix protein powder with a glass of milk and make a protein shake. Drink it before or after the workout for best results. Now there are many brands available in the market. Choose the one that has about 65% protein content and highest digestibility.
  7. Oatmeal: Make oats essential part of your daily diet. Apart from protein, it also has a good amount of water-soluble fiber that aids digestion and will help you cut down your calorie intake. Some of my readers have complained that they get hungry within 2 hours after eating oatmeal. Well it is true for me as well. Here is what I do to make it fuller. I add a teaspoonful of ghee (milk fat) to my oatmeal. It keeps me fuller for longer.
  8. Chickpeas: This legume has whooping 23%  of the protein and is a good source of fiber and minerals. Soak them overnight and make a healthy breakfast by frying with minimum oil. To make it more delicious, add chopped tomato, onions, coriander and few drops of lemon juice.
  9. Black beans:  This, again, is a good source of vegetarian protein dietary fiber. It contains about 15% of protein. Including black beans in diet will help prevent constipation and high cholesterol. So apart from making you lean, it will also make your heart more healthy.