How do you get enough protein from food? And what should you pay attention to? In this blog you can read important information about protein and you will also find a tasty and protein-rich recipe.
Why is eating enough protein important?
Proteins are the building blocks in our body and are important for almost all life processes. They are essential for build-up, maintenance and repair, but also play many other roles in our body. Proteins are made up of amino acids, in total these are 22 different species, which we all need. Some of these amino acids can be created by our body itself, these are called the non-essential amino acids. Another part of the amino acids our body cannot produce itself, the essential amino acids, which we need to extract from our diet. So it is important to get all the amino acids in.
In addition, protein also provides energy, namely 4 kcal per gram. However, carbohydrates and fats are our biggest sources of fuel. Especially when there are too few carbohydrates available, proteins will be used more as an energy source. Therefore, especially with a low-carb diet, it is also important to eat enough protein.
And what is the difference between animal and vegetable proteins?
Proteins are present in both animal and plant products. Animal proteins contain all the essential amino acids. Vegetable proteins sometimes have less essential amino acids, or in the wrong position. In addition, protein from plant products is sometimes more difficult to digest. This is also referred to as the protein quality. The quality of proteins affects the protein requirement. For example, someone who receives less animal amino acids needs more protein due to the lower quality of the vegetable proteins.
In addition, it is important to pay attention to the fact that you get vegetable proteins from different sources. As an example, legumes and cereals do not contain all amino acids. Legumes lack a certain type of amino acid and grains as well. By eating these together you make sure that you get the amino acids that the legumes lack through the grains and vice versa, so that you still get all the essential amino acids.
How much protein does a person need?
On average, a healthy person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. As mentioned above, vegetarians and vegans need more protein in a day, which equates to about 25% more protein. This equates to about 15 grams of extra protein per day. It is also important that the proteins come from different sources to get all amino acids in.
Why do athletes need a lot of protein?
Furthermore, athletes also need more protein than an average person. When exercising, you break down muscles, after which it is important to rebuild them. Since proteins are our building materials, you need enough protein to build your muscles. This means that athletes need more protein. How much extra protein an athlete needs depends on several factors, such as what kind of sport someone performs and how often this person sports. In general, this equates to 1.2 – 1.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day.
Which ingredients contain a lot of protein?
These can be divided into animal products and plant products.
Animal products– Meat, fish
poultry – Eggs – Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese
– Legumes, such as beans,
lentils and chickpeas – Cereals, such as pasta or rice
Do I get enough protein?
A question that concerns a lot of people. Nowadays there are a lot of protein powder, protein shakes, protein bars and you name it on the market. This makes us think that we need these products because otherwise we would not get enough protein, but is that also the case? If you look at the need of 0.8 grams per day, that would mean that a person of 70 kg should get about 56 grams of protein. Suppose you exercise and weigh 70 kg, this would be about 84 grams of protein (calculated with a requirement of 1.2 grams of protein per kg of body weight).
In the Netherlands we eat an average of 78 grams of protein per day, which is slightly higher for men (88 grams of protein) than for women (68 grams of protein). This shows that as an average person you get enough protein through food. If you exercise you do need more protein, but even then you don’t need much extra that you can’t get from food. Especially if you opt for protein-rich meals.
For example, this protein-rich curry. Per serving (starting from 4 people, served with 70 grams of unprepared brown rice) you get more than 25 grams of protein. That’s almost 1/3E of your protein needs when you exercise and weigh 70 kg, that with one meal.
Did you know that paneer contains a lot of protein? It contains 22 grams of protein per 100 grams. That’s almost as much protein as chicken contains and even more than beef contains. That makes it a good meat substitute. In addition, paneer is low in fat and low in salt.
Protein-rich vegetarian paneer curry
Main course – 40 minutes – 3 to 4 people
A protein-rich, vegetarian curry full of vegetables such as broccoli, peas and bell pepper
curry pasta (I used Fairtrade’s) 200ml coconut milk
400g diced tomatoes
pepper 1 onion
cloves 1 red pepper
Coriander to garnish
Brown rice to serve
Chop the onion, finely chop the garlic and red pepper and dice the peppers. Also cut the paneer into cubes and the broccoli into florets.
Heat a large wok pan with some oil/butter. First fry the garlic and onion, then add the pepper and bell pepper. Bake this with me. Then add the curry paste, let it bake for about 2 minutes, then add the coconut milk and diced tomatoes. Also add the broccoli and let it simmer gently for about 10 minutes.
Heat some oil/butter in another pan and fry the paneer all-around brown. At the last, add the peas and paneer to the curry. Serve with brown rice and garnish with some coriander.