Protein and Women. Why women need more protein in their diet?

Do you experience the 3-pm slump every day? This loss in energy levels might be due to low protein in your diet.

Also, if you see the following signs, then you are definitely not getting enough protein in your food:

  • You feel hungry often
  • Your nails and hair are brittle
  • You feel weak and exhausted most of the time
  • You are moody
  • Wounds take time to repair or heal
  • Your hands and feet are swollen

Our muscles go through wear and tear every day. And protein helps build and repair muscles. Not only this, protein keeps the blood sugar stable throughout the day, gives you energy, provides enzymes to digest food and reduces cravings making you feel fuller longer.

Protein is an important source of amino acids. What does amino acids do for a woman’s body?

  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Prevent fat accumulation in the liver
  • Helps in the formation of haemoglobin
  • Reduces muscle damage
  • Strengthens hair and nails

An average person needs protein to the tune of 0.8 to 1.2 gms of their body weight. If someone weighs 60 gms, they need 60-72 gms of protein per day. This is for someone who is living a sedentary lifestyle. However, if you lead an active lifestyle or exercise daily, you need 2 gms of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Also, it is highly recommended for women to eat protein to keep their metabolism high to prevent the loss of muscle mass as they age and help heal bones. Women over 50 are advised to eat 1 to 1.5 gms of protein per kilogram of weight.

Eggs, fish, meat, poultry are high in protein.

Vegetarians can get their quota of protein from dairy like cheese, curds and milk, and whey based protein supplements. What about vegans?

Don’t worry. Vegans too have a large number of protein choices.

  1. Tofu – I roast tofu on girdle with olive oil, and that’s it. It’s a quick tasty snack.
  2. Edamame – Steam them, sprinkle some salt and black pepper. And they are lovely!
  3. Beans – Any beans are high in protein, but red kidney beans or black eyes beans are not only protein rich but also come packed with fiber and antioxidants.
  4. Peas – While chickpeas provides fiber, carbs, iron and minerals along with protein, peas contains amino acid-leucine.
  5. Lentils – Dals are also a good source of protein. No wonder, Indian meals are incomplete without a bowl of dal.
  6. Quinoa/Amaranth – While quinoa is gaining popularity in India, its Indian counterpart amaranth or rajgira is equally high in protein too. Use rajgira millet in ladoos or salads, make rotis out of rajgira flour, etc.
  7. Oats – Oats is another wonder protein packed food for vegans and vegetarians. Whether you make an oats porridge, make overnight oats or baked oats, oats taste lovely in any form.
  8. Nuts and seeds – Nuts like almonds and peanuts, and seeds like pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are a rich effortless source of good protein. Eat a handful of nuts and seeds every day or include almond or peanut butter in your diet.

Seeds can be added to salads, smoothies or have it in your trail mix. The Soul Kitchen has an interesting range of flavourful trail mixes made with protein rich nuts and seeds and berries, flavoured with selected spices.

  1. Broccoli – Broccoli is another source of plant based protein that also provides calcium, vitamins B and C and fiber.
  2. Pea based protein powder – For people who don’t consume animal based products including protein powders that contain whey, can take pea based protein powders.

Try to include these beautiful protein packed foods in your diet, and stay healthy and lovely.