GeneralHealth

10 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar You Did Not Know

From the time of Hippocrates to today, apple cider vinegar remains unchanged. It worked as a health aid then and supports your wellness even now. The larger share of fan following come from the role of apple cider vinegar in weight loss, diabetes management, and cholesterol control, but there is an unknown side of apple cider vinegar about which little is written about. Learn the unknown benefits of apple cider vinegar and make the most out of this versatile vinegar.

1.       GLOWING SKIN

Apple cider vinegar is the best-kept secret of nature for a glowing skin. Drink it every morning on an empty stomach. Mix 10ml vinegar in a glass of warm water and drink it on an empty stomach. It will detox your body and the result is going to show on your skin. Apply it topically by mixing equal parts of vinegar and rosewater. Dab it on your skin with a cotton ball to tone your skin and shrink skin pores. Before you sleep mix equal amount vinegar and honey and prepare a face mask. Let it stay for 10 minutes and wash it off with warm water. Regular use will remove fine lines.  Start using apple cider vinegar for skin and let people have a tough time guessing your age.

2.      BOUNCY HAIR

Now say goodbye to bad hair days because apple cider vinegar is going to solve all your hair worries. Regular use of apple cider vinegar is going to tame your unruly mane, add bounce and shine to your hair which is hard to get from commercial hair products. All shampoos and conditioners contain chemicals and over a period of time, it gets deposited in your hair making them limp and listless after every wash.  Apple cider vinegar acts as an antidote. A solution made from two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and water when used as the last rinse provides the much-needed bounce to your hair. Use apple cider vinegar for hair to eliminate dandruff and add natural bounce and luster to your tresses.

3.      HOUSEHOLD CLEANSER

Prepare a solution by mixing 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup water. You can use this solution to clean microwaves, bathroom tiles, kitchen surfaces, windows, glasses and mirrors. This mixture also works as a disinfectant. Rub this solution on your furry friends to reduce flea infestation. Dissolve a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle of water to combat unpleasant odours.

4.      AVOID MOTION SICKNESS.

If you feel queasy while travelling then you are suffering from motion sickness, then it is difficult for you to travel. You don’t need to worry because apple cider vinegar with alkaline properties and pH balancing effect on the body can help you manage motion sickness. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of honey to one cup of lukewarm water. Stir it well and sip it slowly half an hour before traveling. This solution will help settle the stomach and control nausea. If you already have motion sickness, dilute one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a one-half cup of warm water. Rinse your mouth with this solution to freshen up your breath and prevent any more episodes of nausea.

5.       CLEAR CONGESTION AND  COLD

A change in season often causes nasal congestion and sore throat. Mix two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water and gargle with it to get relief from a prickly throat. Inhale the vapours from a steaming pot of water to which several spoon-full of apple cider vinegar have been added to clear congestion and cold.

6.      RELIEVE SUNBURN

An impromptu outing in the sun is harsh on your skin. Apply cold vinegar compresses directly to  the skin  to prevent redness and blisters. You can even squirt a generous dose of apple cider vinegar in your bath water and soak in it, to earn relief from the angry rash.

7.      USE FOR  PEDICURES AND MANICURES

Apple cider vinegar in your pedicure and manicure soak works wonders and the after effect shows in the smooth, baby-like skin. Acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar softens dead skin and you can literally see it coming off. It also softens your cuticles and helps remove nail polish stains. Moreover, the acid content in vinegar acts like natural bleach, de-tanning your dark skin. Add a half a cup of vinegar to the warm water and use it for pedicure and manicure soak.  As a bonus effect, it will relieve tiredness of your legs and hands.

8.      USE FOR ATHLETE’S FOOT

Rinse your feet several times with plain vinegar. The acid content in vinegar  helps stop fungus growth and relieves itching.

9.       SHINY TEETH

Apple cider vinegar removes stains from your teeth. Gargle your mouth with the apple cider vinegar solution (mix 10ml of vinegar in a glass of water) before you brush your teeth. Not only will this help remove stains, but work as an inexpensive and chemical-free mouthwash. Additionally, you will not suffer from a sore throat.

10.      BLOOMING GARDENS

Apple cider vinegar with 5 percent acidity works as an excellent fertilizer, especially for acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, blueberries, strawberries and heathers. For potted plants add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to 1 gallon of water before you water your potted plants. Spray neat vinegar on weeds to kill them.

You can trust apple cider vinegar to relieve hiccups, heal burns and insect stings. If you are taking vinegar internally, dilute it with water because vinegar is acidic in nature. Always buy a high quality, unfiltered vinegar, like HealthViva Apple Cider Vinegar, as it contains ‘mother’, the primary source of health benefits for apple cider vinegar.

Related Article:  Top 10 Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day

Is Your Teenage Child Eating Right

It’s common sense: more growth demands greater nutrition. For girls, the growth spurt happens between 11 to 15 years and ‘in boys it is 13 to 16 years. In teenage years, girls and boys attain puberty, a process that involves maturing of the body and attaining maximum height along with bone mass. In girls, the body fat increases to 22 percent from 19 post-puberty, whereas boys acquire two times more muscle mass than girls.

KEY NUTRIENTS REQUIRED BY TEENAGERS

Growing kids need a lot of calories to support rapid growth. For girls approximately 2200 calories per day is the requirement, while for boys it lies between 2500-2900, and these calories should come from quality foods sources instead of junk foods.

Protein

Protein plays a critical role in physical growth and 15-20 percent of calories should come from proteins. Teens on a vegetarian diet need to be careful about their protein consumption.

Iron

Iron deficiency anaemia is common in teenagers in both girls and boys. Prior to adolescence, both girls and boys have equal amount of lean body mass, but in teenage years, boys double their lean muscles, as compared to girls. This raises the need for iron for building haemoglobin, the red pigment in blood that carries oxygen and the related protein myoglobin in muscle. When menstruation begins in girls, they need additional iron from foods to fill in the gaps.

Calcium

During early adolescence between 10-14 years in girls and 12-16 years in boys, around 45 percent of an adult skeletal mass is formed. For teens, the daily recommendation of calcium is 1300 milligrams daily and this critical nutrient goes missing from the plates of most teens. Good sources of calcium-rich foods include low-fat dairy foods, leafy greens and soy-based foods. Calcium deficiency increases vulnerability to fractures in later years.

B-vitamins

Abundantly found in fruits, vegetables and grains, water-soluble B vitamins play an important role in cell metabolism. Large amounts of the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin are needed to meet the energy requirements of teens.

HEALTHY EATING BEHAVIOURS IN TEENAGERS

Mostly in teenage years, children develop food fancies and begin to prefer junk foods to wholesome meals. Therefore, it becomes a challenge for mothers to instill healthy eating habits in teens. Go easy and make small changes in the eating plan of teenagers to improve their diet and nutrition.

  1. Reduce sugary drinks, like soft drinks and energy drinks. Water is a healthier alternative.
  2. Keep healthy food choices at home, like a bowl of fruits, cereals
  3. Eat a healthy breakfast every day, like whole grain cereals, eggs, fruits
  4. Rather than coercing the teenager to have three big meals, allow them to eat 6 smaller and lighter meals spaced out through the day
  5. Encourage teenagers to experiment with the food. They are more likely to eat stuff that they have dished out on their own

Avoid building battle- line around food with teenage children. Allow them to develop their taste and be a good role model. Your children are likely to follow what they see.

Top 20 Tips to Improve Your Heart Health

  1. Eat locally grown seasonal fruits and vegetables for a healthy heart. Avoid fancy fruits that have completed overseas travel before they land on your plate for two reasons: such fruits and greens are expensive and they are low in nutrients.  Prefer seasonal greens and fruits and your health and budget is going to thank you.
  2. Which oils are good for your heart? Refined oils go through several levels of purification, which strips them of the essential fatty acids. Ideally, you should cook food in olive oil, but mustard oil is equally good, as it has perfect balance of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
  3. Stay away from feasting and fasting, as they can stress heart. Surge of sugar and cholesterol after a heavy meal increases the workload on heart and also increases the deposition of cholesterol in blood vessels. So eating meals on time is good for heart. Better, you should eat six small meals in day to keep the glucose level at an even keel.
  4. Get omega-3 for a healthy heart. Fish contains a large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega-3 fatty acid), which prevents deposition of bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol) in blood vessels. For vegetarians, flax seeds and walnuts are good sources of omega-3 fatty acid.
  5. Say no to table salt. Shaking a bit of salt can lead to hypertension. Eating salt is an acquired habit and you can retrain your taste buds.
  6. Be aware of foods. Junk foods, deep fried foods, red meat, full-fat milk, hydrogenated products (read bakery biscuits and cakes) are at best avoided and if you must eat them, then have it in moderation.

FITNESS LEVEL AND YOUR HEART

7. Walking is good for your heart. Regular brisk walking for 30-40 minutes daily for at least 5 days a week is the best exercise for the heart. Does it sound too much? Break it into two parts to get a healthy heart because your heart is a muscle and like all muscles, it can benefit with some amount of moderate activity. Lift weights for an active heart.

8. Drink a glass of water before your meals. The reason is simple. It is an effective way to eat less, which means you can keep your weight in check.

9. Measure your waist. The BMI is a good, but imperfect guide. Muscle weighs more than fat, for instance, and women and men who are very muscular and physically fit can have high BMIs without added health risks. Because of that, waist circumference also is a useful tool to measure how much abdominal fat you have

  • Men are considered overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (101.6 centimeters, or cm)
  • Women are overweight if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (88.9 cm)

10. Learn yoga for an active heart. Yoga helps you stretch your limbs which keep them supple and flexible. A study recently published in the American Journal of Physiology has found that stretching exercises as in Yoga, don’t just help with stiff muscles and joints but prevents stiff arteries as well, which means less clog and lower risk of heart-related disease. Elastic blood vessels help moderate blood pressure. If you are able to reach to or beyond toes, your systolic blood pressure number would be lesser than your non-flexible peers, found researchers

MODIFY YOUR LIFESTYLE FOR A HEALTHY HEART

11. Quit smoking for a healthy heart. Inhaling tobacco smoke causes several immediate responses within the heart and its blood vessels.  Within one minute of starting to smoke, the heart rate begins to rise. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke exerts a negative effect on the heart by reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.

12. Get eight hours of sleep. If you’re wondering how less sleep affects your heart, the answer is that too little sleep may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, according to a report in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association. Around one-fourth of  the people aged from 32 to 59 who slept for five or fewer hours, a night developed hypertension, compared with 12 percent of those who got seven or eight hours.

13. Laugh every day for a healthy heart. Look around and you will find that the kids burst into giggles for no rhyme or reason, but adults wear a somber expression all the time.  Laughter makes you feel good. And the good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even after the laughter subsides. Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you are laughing. It helps you relax, recharge and reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more. Moreover, humour shifts perspective and you look at things in less threatening light. If you find it difficult to loosen up in front of others, try watching hilarious movies and comedies. It’s a good way to get the daily dose of chuckles.

14. How about forgiving people? Well, it’s quite a difficult task, but in the ultimate analysis, you only forgive yourself when you forgive others. Pent up hurt, guilt and regrets are not good for your heart.

15. Get a pet home. Friends need not be human. Heart patients who develop a close relationship with a dog, cat or any other pet animal recover significantly faster and live longer. This is because by providing unconditional affection and love, pets reduce stress levels in their owners.

 16.  Do not worry for a healthy heart. According to a recent study, it has been found that 15 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease suffered from stress. Quit worrying  because unmanaged stress can lead to high blood pressure, arterial damage and a weak immune system. During recovery from cardiac surgery, stress can intensify pain, worsen fatigue and sluggishness, or cause a person to withdraw into social isolation.

THE RIGHT HERBS FOR YOUR HEART

17. Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna) extracts of the tree of arjuna bark are used to treat cardiovascular diseases, in Ayurveda. The bark of the arjuna tree has potent antioxidants that are comparable to vitamin E with a significant cholesterol-lowering effect.
Research studies go on to prove that arjuna bark extract when given to patients with stable angina, or chest pain led to improvement in clinical and treadmill exercise parameters.

18.  Rason (Allium sativum) extracts or garlic helps prevent hardening of blood vessels of the heart and works as an effective cholesterol lowering agent and even helps reduce triglycerides, blood fats that are closely linked to heart disease. Garlic can even lower blood pressure as effectively as some drugs (as shown in studies where subjects supplemented with daily dosages ranging from 600 – 900 mg over a period of 3-6 months.

19. Apple cider vinegar is rich in acetic acid. It helps reduce bad cholesterol and triglycerides in arteries. It also increases good cholesterol. This helps normalise high blood pressure and improves your heart health.

20. Onions contain two important flavonoid compounds that act as antioxidants: sulfur and quercetin. Quercetin supplements have been shown in studies to significantly reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients (who took 730 mg of quercetin daily for one month).

Follow these 20 tips and keep your heart young, active and healthy.

Soy or Whey: The Superior Protein

Walk into any gym or fitness center and you will most likely be suggested to include protein supplements, in the form of powders in your diet. Even if you are not a serious athlete or bodybuilder, chances are you’ll be encouraged to include protein in your meal plan. 

Wondering why? This is because what you eat, most likely, doesn’t meet your daily protein requirements! A recent IMRB survey has revealed that 9 out of 10 plates in India’s metros are deficient in protein. 

Though proteins are easily available and can be extracted from a wide range of food products, the lack of knowledge and time scarcity makes it difficult for you to reach your daily minimum intake of protein. And this is where protein supplements come to your rescue. These are the easiest way to balance demand and supply of proteins in your body. 

WHEY OR SOY WAY

Both whey and soy score 1.0 on PDCAAs (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score), the highest rating for a protein source. While soy protein is being tagged as a ‘feminizing’ compound, whey protein is the new standard. But there is another side to it. Neither soy is feminizing nor is whey superior to soy. Actually, your selection of proteins depends on your fitness goals, protein requirements, digestion, tolerance with lactose and cost. 

1.      SOY IS PLANT BASED AND WHEY IS MILK BASED PROTEIN

Extracted from beans, soy is a plant-based protein  with all nine essential amino acids and heart-friendly omega-3s. Whey is the water soluble part of cow’s milk – one of the two proteins found in milk. As whey is found in milk, yogurt, and cheese, it contains lactose. Therefore, if you are a vegan and intolerant to lactose, soy is your ally. Whey works well if you have a great tolerance for lactose. The American Heart Association (AHA) also recommends adding at least 25g of soy protein every day to a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol to reduce the risk of heart diseases.  

2.     WHEN TO DRINK WHEY AND SOY

A study presented at The American College of Sports Medicine Meeting in 2004 demonstrated that both soy and whey proteins are equally effective at boosting muscle hypertrophy post workout. So, no matter whether you consume soy or whey post workout, both work, but whey works more because it digests quickly and offers more amino acids per serving. 

3.      SOY IS NOT FEMINIZING

The general perception is that soy is feminizing and upsets (reduces) the testosterone levels in males. A study underwritten in 2005 by the Solae Company revealed that soy only promotes lean body mass. It doesn’t negatively affect testosterone levels in males when they are enrolled in weight-training programs. The study was conducted over 12 weeks where 41 athletes consumed soy protein shakes twice daily.

 

4.  WHEY PROTEIN HAS HIGHER PROTEIN CONTENT

Whey concentrates are said to have up to 89 per cent of protein content. Isolates have more than 90 per cent of protein by weight. Soy concentrates contain more than 65 percent protein content whereas isolates contain up to 90 percent protein by weight. Additionally, whey has low but significant levels of fat and cholesterol while soy is cholesterol-free. When you choose a protein, make sure to consider your protein requirements and cholesterol level.

Obviously, both soy and whey make great choices, but if you’re intolerant to lactose, soy is your call.  However otherwise, soy-whey blend works the best. The fast absorption of whey can be balanced with slow digestion of soy while the higher protein content in whey can promote faster muscle building. Together they provide more energy, as a result, more prolonged release of amino acids. Alternatively, rotating the protein supplements is also effective

5.      WHEY PROTEIN ABSORBS QUICKLY AND HELPS MAXIMIZE MUSCLE SYNTHESIS

Many studies have demonstrated quick digestive properties of whey protein. As it is water soluble, it is digested shortly after intake. It doesn’t coagulate with other molecules in the stomach and is, therefore, quickly emptied into the small intestine. And because it’s quickly digestible, the effect of whey short-lived.

On the other hand, soy digests slower than whey. This is because the former contains a significant level of fibre. The best way to ensure better digestion and results is to combine soy and whey, whenever possible. A study published in 2013 in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” found that whey protein absorbed quickly and helped maximize muscle synthesis. The higher concentrations of amino acids in whey protein is important for muscle building and therefore resulted in greater muscle protein synthesis than soy protein. Moreover, whey protein reduced cortisol, a hormone that can break down muscle following an exercise. 

SOY AND WHEY PROTEIN BLEND HELP BUILD MORE MUSCLES

Obviously, both soy and whey make great choices, but if you’re intolerant to lactose, soy is your call.  However otherwise, soy-whey blend works the best. The fast absorption of whey can be balanced with slow digestion of soy while the higher protein content in whey can promote faster muscle building. The blend of soy and whey will helps you build more muscle mass by cleverly complementing each other.  Together they provide more energy by prolonging release of amino acids.

Since soy protein, particularly soy protein isolate, is fairly fast-digesting and rich in arginine, the amino acid that’s regularly converted to nitric oxide (NO) in the body,  you should add soy to your pre-workout whey protein shake for more energy and stamina before you workout. 

 

 

 

Top 10 Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day

Alternative health practitioners believe that the major missing piece of the healing puzzle is to move the body’s pH to a slightly alkaline state, as many inflammatory diseases, like allergy, diabetes, and arthritis have their roots in the acidic pH. Made from fermented apple juice, apple cider vinegar is an amazing health tonic, if it is raw, unfiltered and un-pasteurized. The real reason for health benefits of apple cider vinegar is ‘mother’, a cobweb-like structure that it lends vinegar a cloudy appearance and is found in only organic apple cider vinegar. According to several health sources, apple cider vinegar is loaded with potent antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, Additionally, acetic acid, enzymes, and minerals in apple cider vinegar promote good health and wellbeing. A bit short of a health elixir, apple cider vinegar is the health panacea, most of us have been looking for and in 10 ways apple cider vinegar improves health and well-being of city folks like us.

WHY SHOULD YOU USE APPLE CIDER VINEGAR EVERY DAY

The most noticeable effects of apple cider vinegar on your health show in improved immunity, energy, digestion and reduced weight. Besides, there are many other ways in which this health tonic will benefit you. Just trust apple cider vinegar for a natural solution to your niggling health concerns.

1.      LOSE WEIGHT WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Weight on your mind? Begin drinking apple cider vinegar tonic to lose weight. Dilute 10ml vinegar in a glass of warm water and drink it in the morning on an empty stomach and before meals. Acetic acid lowers water retention, improves metabolism, restricts appetite and interferes with the assimilation of starch. The bonus effect is natural weight loss.

2.      STABILISE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Diabetes management with apple cider vinegar is possible, as it helps stabilise your blood sugar. Several studies have found that apple cider vinegar helps lower blood sugar, which is very useful for diabetics. A 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by four percent to six percent

3.      FLEXIBLE AND ACTIVE JOINTS WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

When metabolic waste deposits in connective tissues of the joints, it inflames your joints. A classic symptom of arthritis is painful joints and a tonic made from apple cider vinegar helps flush toxins from the body. Rich in magnesium, apple cider vinegar increases your body’s ability to absorb calcium for flexible and pain-free joints.

4.      TREAT  COUGH AND COLD WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

2300 years ago, in 300 BC, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine prescribed apple cider vinegar to treat a cough and cold. It stands true even today. Potassium-rich apple cider vinegar helps thin mucous and prevent germ growth. Mix apple cider vinegar in warm water and use it to gargle a sore throat.

5.      DISSOLVE KIDNEY STONES WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Excess minerals get deposited in kidneys as stones, which can be as small as a grain of sand to as large as a pearl. These mineral deposits can be excruciatingly painful. Apple cider vinegar works as a wonderful detox tonic and helps dissolve kidney stones. All you need to do is to mix two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar in a warm glass of water and drink three times a day (early in the morning and before meals).

6.      TREAT ACID REFLUX,  INDIGESTION AND UPSET STOMACH WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Apple cider vinegar works when antacids fail to treat acid reflux and indigestion. Contrary to popular belief, acidity is a result of less acid in your stomach. Rich in acetic acid,  you should use apple cider vinegar to treat acid reflux and indigestion.  Upset stomach, a symptom of stomach flu is a condition where the gastrointestinal tract is inflamed, as a result of contracting a viral infection. Body aches, vomiting diarrhea and nausea are other symptoms of an upset stomach that appear after 48 hours of exposure to the virus. Though upset stomach heals on own, but apple cider vinegar infused drink can expedite the process. Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water or any fruit juice. Drink it before meals until you get complete relief from stomach flu symptoms. Pectin in apple cider vinegar soothes irritated stomach lining. You can even add a tablespoon of vinegar do an apple cider vinegar tonic. Drink this every few hours and you’ll begin to feel better.

7.       ​EARN RELIEF FROM NIGHTTIME LEG CRAMPS

The debilitating leg cramps is a symptom of potassium deficiency. To earn relief from leg cramps, mix 10ml of apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of honey in water and drink it to give your legs that much needed potassium shot.

8.      IMPROVE HEART HEALTH WITH APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Rich in acetic acid, apple cider vinegar reduces bad cholesterol and triglycerides in arteries. It helps increase good cholesterol and normalizes blood pressure. This helps improve your heart health.

9.      SOOTHE RASHES AND SUNBURN 

Apple cider vinegar works effectively to soothe rashes and sunburn.  According to the book, “Dr. Earl Mindell’s Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar,” by Dr. Earl Mindell, dilute the vinegar with water and wipe it over the rash with a cotton ball to relieve inflammation, reduce irritation and itching, and encourage healing.  To get relief from sunburn, soak a clean piece of gauze in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly on the sunburn.

10.       BOOST ENERGY

Next time you overwork yourself, at a gym or at home, reach out for apple cider vinegar. When lactic acid builds up in the body, it causes fatigue. Amino acids and potassium in apple cider vinegar work as an antidote and help boost energy.

HOW TO DRINK APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Mix 10ml of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water. Drink it in the morning and before meals. To enhance taste, add a dash of honey to the apple cider vinegar concoction. You can also use apple cider vinegar on your salads and dishes.

Make friends with apple cider vinegar and your health will thank you big time.

The Role of Protein in a Well Balanced Diet

Next to water, protein is the most abundant nutrient found in the human body. Protein is an important component of every cell in your body. The amino acids help make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and several tiny molecules that serve an important function in maintaining good health. Your muscles, bones and many other tissues are made of proteins and your hair and nails are just proteins. Now, you know why your hair falls and nails turn brittle when you suffer from protein deficiency.

WHAT ARE PROTEINS

Around 20 amino acids form the basic molecules of proteins and in the human body these 20 amino acids combine to form thousands of different proteins. Out of 20 amino acids, 9 amino acids are essential and have to be sourced from the diet. Since the body is able to process the remaining amino acids, they become non-essential. Among these non-essential amino acids, there are certain that become conditionally essential during conditions like repair, old age and muscle wastage.

WHY DO YOU NEED PROTEINS

It comes as a surprise that protein, a macronutrient, essential to sustain life goes missing in 9 out of 10 typical Indian plates? A study in BMJ Open journal recently showed that India is a nation that consumes excess starch and fat that reflects in our poor muscle mass. Primarily, protein serves 5 key functions in the human body

1. BUILDS STRENGTH AND MUSCLE

One of the primary roles of protein is tissue repair and muscle building.  This makes protein critical for patients recovering from sickness, growing children and elderly. If the protein content in your diet is low, the muscles will break down and will not be able to repair those cells, resulting in weakness. As muscles continue to degrade, you’ll find it difficult to walk a mile or climb a flight of stair. Along with strength training exercises, eat enough proteins to build muscles.

2. STRENGTHENS IMMUNITY

Eating protein rich foods for every meal is the shortcut to build immunity. Immunoglobulins or antibodies floating in your blood is an indicator of a healthy immunity and is made of amino acids. These antibodies attack viruses and bacteria. Therefore, eating protein rich foods is the shortcut to strong immunity. Moreover, proteins are a wholesome package and often offer multivitamins on the platter that are required to fortify your body’s defense. 

3.  IMPROVES FITNESS

Each time you work out, your muscles suffer from wear and tear. Since your muscles act as sponges for 30-45 minutes after exercise, you must supply proteins (15-25g) to rebuild and repair the micro tears in the muscles. This makes you less sore the next day and increases your lean muscle mass, which helps your body burn calories more efficiently 24-7.

4.   HELPS LOSE AND MAINTAIN WEIGHT

Protein helps in weight management, as it not only improves calorie burn but also restricts cravings for junk foods. Unlike carbs, your body takes a longer time to digest proteins. This keeps you fuller for a longer duration, reduces hunger pangs. Since proteins are denser foods, the body has to work harder to digest them. As a result it burns more calories. Eating proteins keeps the blood sugar stable and prevents cravings for junk foods. For people who’re dieting protein-rich meals are particularly important because when losing body fat, a high protein diet prevents the muscle loss that occurs when dieting.

5.  MANAGES LIFESTYLE DISEASES

Foods rich in protein are invaluable in preventing and managing lifestyle diseases by lowering triglycerides, a kind of fat floating in the blood and a marker of heart health. Moreover, increased protein intake automatically lowers carb content of diets, which helps in better management of diabetes. 

HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU NEED?

Vegetarians are more deficient in protein than non-vegetarians. Healthy protein intake depends on weight and age with a recommended intake figure of 0.8g per kg of weight per day often cited.  British Dietetic Association recommends 55g protein in a day for an average man and 45g for a woman.

PROTEIN SOURCES

Good sources of proteins are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, milk and legumes. All proteins are not equal. Animal sources provide complete proteins and vegetable sources are incomplete ones. This doesn’t make vegetarian proteins inferior, rather they require supplementation.

  • Rice and beans
  • Roti and lentil soup
  • Spinach salad with almonds
  • Hummus and whole-grain pitas
  • Whole-grain noodles with peanut sauce

Soy is a plant-based protein and contains nine essential amino acids in balanced quantity along with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Dairy is an exceptionally good source of protein and provides essential amino acids.

Keep that protein close to you and watch your fitness, immunity and strength benefit.