Article from What’s Revved Up @ Audi Natick ()
May 10, 2010
Tap into the Power of Protein
Whatever your eating style, there’s plenty to go around.

Classified as a macronutrient, protein is an important factor in your overall health. Nails and hair are made of protein while bones, muscles, cartilage, blood and skin require its “building block” power. You also need protein to repair tissue, fight off illnesses and keep up your energy level. And because the human body doesn’t store protein, it’s crucial to get enough of it every day. Fortunately, protein can be found in a wide variety of foods that will satisfy meat-lovers and vegetarians alike.

If you do love meat, then you’re in luck. The protein in meat usually has a higher biological quality than protein from plant foods; it also contains necessary amino acids in the perfect proportions for growing tissue in the human body. All meat is not created equal, however. Grass-fed beef, for example, is rich in certain fatty acids and nutrients that you won’t find in factory-raised cattle. Similarly, fresh organic chicken and wild salmon are better picks than frozen chicken or farmed salmon. Love hotdogs and hamburgers? Consider trying leaner meat, like turkey, which comes in hotdog and patty form – you may find yourself enjoying the variety!

For those without a carnivorous appetite, there are plenty of delicious sources of protein as well. Basics like eggs and milk boast substantial amounts while stocking up on nuts, beans and whole grains will give you an even bigger boost. Like meat, however, there are some choices that are a cut above the rest. Organic, plain and Greek yogurt, for instance, often contain more nutrition and less sugar than the regular kinds. Love peanut butter? Try almond butter, which has less fat and more protein – it’s just as scrumptious and tastes great on a slice of whole-wheat toast topped with some honey!

Most people need around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but if you’re pregnant or recovering from an injury, talk to your doctor about healthy ways to up your daily dose. If your preferred foods are not sufficient sources of protein, check out powder supplements that can be combined with water or milk as a beverage. With flavors like vanilla and chocolate, it’ll taste like a milkshake! 

Not getting enough protein can result in many health complications and general weakness. And if it seems like your hair or nails are weak and you have puffy bags under your eyes, those could be signs of protein deficiency as well. For especially shiny, beautiful hair, fill up on legumes like kidney beans and lentils; not only will you get tons of protein to promote hair growth, but your body will appreciate the extra iron, biotin and zinc, too!

While it may take awhile to find the yummiest way to get your daily fill of protein, there are several protein-focused recipes that will have you loving every taste test. Experiment with omelets, try adding tofu to your stir-fry or sink your teeth into a juicy turkey burger. You’ll feel better, from the hairs on your head to the tips of your toes!

Published by Audi Natick
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