Protein is not called the building block of our body for no reason. We all are well aware of the importance of protein. It helps in the growth and development of our body tissues, especially our muscles. However, not many of us succeed in incorporating good quality proteins into our diet. There is always a dilemma of what to eat when you need to meet your protein requirements, especially when you are a vegetarian but no worries. There are a lot of protein-rich options that you can choose from. If you are a fitness enthusiast and are looking for a good quality protein option, this blog is specially curated just for you.
Good Quality Protein Options
We all love eating cakes, pastries, bhaturas, kachoris, etc. don’t we?
Be it someone’s birthday or a brunch out with friends, be it a lazy Sunday morning or a family dinner, we as Indians love food in general, especially those fried refined foods. But do you know that Maida, that you so love to eat, has minimal amounts of protein as all of its protein is lost during de-husking and polishing? That’s why it is said that go for unrefined grains, to keep the nutrient quality intact.
- I would suggest you all make small changes first by doing smart consumer selection and by choosing whole grains like wheat over refined grain products like Maida, in the first place. However, a cheat day does no harm so you don’t need to stop eating Maida but reduce eating it and start replacing it with better options such as wheat flour, ragi flour, bajra, etc.
- Another option to get really good protein is through milk if you are not lactose intolerant (cannot digest milk or feel uneasy when you drink milk). However, I would like you all to go for low-fat milk options such as toned, double-toned, and low-fat milk variants instead of full cream milk. Milk products such as low-fat curd, paneer, etc. are excellent sources of protein and can help you achieve your protein requirements.
Whey Protein Supplements
We have been constantly reading and hearing that any workout is incomplete without a proper diet, that too a protein-rich diet. It often becomes very unrealistic to include so many protein food sources in our diets every day. However, if you are someone, who is into fitness or gymming and is looking for extra protein supplementation to build those muscles or to lose weight, protein from just grains and milk and milk products would not suffice your protein requirements. Protein supplements in the form of protein powders or protein drinks have become common these days.
For the people who are not able to meet their protein requirements through diet, I highly recommend including 1-2 scoops of whey protein in their daily routine. If you want to make those gain muscles, gain strength or lose those extra kilos or even just fulfil your daily protein requirements, whey protein is the ultimate rescuer.
What is Whey Protein?
For many of you who are not well informed about what whey protein is, let me tell you that whey is a component of milk. Milk has two proteins i.e. whey and casein. It is usually found as a by-product of cheesemaking. When a coagulant is added to milk, casein and whey get separated. Earlier, whey did not get any major limelight because its benefits were long hidden but now due to advancement in research, the whey component of milk has been recognized as a value-added ingredient in not just one, but many food products. Whey is now being used in many infant milk formulas, beverages served in sports competitions, as a food ingredient, in nutraceuticals, dietary supplements, etc. It is also being taken as protein supplements in form of dry powders by bodybuilders for building and strengthening their muscles. Whey now holds a very vital biological importance and has many positive health benefits.
Benefits of Whey Protein:
1. Antimicrobial, Anti Viral
As whey is antimicrobial and antiviral, it will protect you from all harmful bacteria and viruses. It protects you from infections and makes you more immune by strengthening your body’s natural defence mechanism.
2. Keeps your Heart Healthy
Whey proteins are known to improve your cardiovascular health and they will keep your heart healthy. It helps in lowering your blood pressure so people who are facing weight and blood pressure issues should consider including whey in their diets.
3. Fights with Cancer (Anti Cancer Properties)
Whey is an excellent protein source for meeting the requirements of cancer patients as well who suffer from nausea and do not feel like eating as it is easy to digest and is very gentle on the patient’s stomach. It also protects from the development of tumours.
4. Helps Building Muscles
I have already mentioned earlier that protein helps in muscle building and also helps in muscle repair and whey protein is no different in this function. Milk protein is considered to be better for muscle gains than soy protein because of its digestibility. So, always consider choosing Whey protein over Soy protein whenever you hit the gym to build muscles or to shed those extra kilos. It is super beneficial for you if you have a physically active lifestyle. It is not only easily digested but is also very efficiently absorbed in the body, thereby, quickly providing nourishment to your muscles. So, if you want to see muscle gains and build bigger and stronger muscles comparatively quicker, start including whey in your diet.
5. Repairs (Post workout) Muscle Damage
Whey protein will also help you to repair any damage that is caused to the muscle during exercise. For instance, when you lift weights heavier than normal or do aerobics/Zumba for a long period without pause or put pressure on any of your muscles for a long time, the tissues of your muscles may likely get damaged. As a result, you start experiencing pain that persists for a long time and you usually end up skipping either going to the gym or stop exercising. This pain is due to muscle damage which requires essential amino acids to get repaired. Hence, if you want a speedy recovery of your muscles, you should probably start having good quality proteins.
6. Helps in Weight Reduction
We know that healthy body weight can add many more additional years to our life and prevent us from developing weight-related complications such as heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, etc. To reduce weight and to stay fit, a good protein diet is all that you need and I cannot focus more on it. A little modification in your diet with whey protein will bring a positive change and help you reach your ideal weight goals. Whey protein is proven in rendering its contribution to weight loss and ideal weight management. It is an excellent option for you if you are on a fat loss journey where you have been asked to restrict those calories. So no more cribbing about that wide waist or thick thighs, whey protein has got you covered.
7. Controls Diabetes
Also, whey can help you if you are a diabetic. People with diabetes can easily switch on to protein-rich foods such as whey to manage their food intake. You can control your blood glucose levels if you eat more protein, preferably whey if you cannot meet your requirements through local and easily available foods alone.
8. Improves Bone Health
If you are thinking that whey only has these many benefits, wait for the ones you have never thought about. Whey also promotes bone health! As it is a component of milk only, it not only strengthens your bones but also prevents your bones from becoming weak and fragile and prevents the risk of fractures.
9. Promotes Dental Health
Moreover, whey protein also keeps your teeth healthy by preventing them from decay and plaque by keeping them strong.
Now that you are well aware of the benefits of whey protein, I am sure you would have had a change in perception about protein-rich diets. Whenever you feel like you are not able to include protein sources from dairy foods such as milk, legumes, cereals, etc., you always have an option of supplementing your diet with Whey protein. It is good for your heart, muscles, weight loss, glucose, and blood pressure maintenance, protects you from infections and cancers, and whatnot.
With so many benefits of Whey protein now established with scientific evidence, we can clearly say that Whey protein is no less than a miracle that now has myriad health benefits. Integrating whey with your foods can do you no harm help you in numerous ways. However, keep in mind that excess of everything is harmful and everything should be consumed in moderation. I would recommend people who are already suffering from liver or kidney damage to keep a caution on the use of whey. Rest assured, whey protein as an option for protein supplementation is not going to disappoint you.
How to choose a Good Quality Whey Protein Powder
There are primarily 2 types of whey protein –
Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate. The major difference between the two is that Isolate comes with almost zero carb. This makes Isolate a premium quality of protein and hence much more expensive than whey concentrate (almost double the price).
For majority of us we don’t need to go to zero carb because we are never on that low carb diet. Professionals who are preparing for competition and watching out for every gram of carb. Daily intake of 1-2 scoop is recommended based on your protein requirement and food diet.
A quick assessment of nutritional value will help you choose the best whey protein. The protein content should be 22-25gm per scoop, carb should range from 2-5gm and fat content should be less than 2gm. Any popular brand should provide with these specifications.
Here are some of the popular whey protein brands that I have tried and would recommend them (not sponsored) –