Tag Archives: protein consumption

5 Tips on choosing healthy protein foods – Harvard

Unlike the weather, everyone talks about protein but they usually try to do something about it, too. MedlinePlus says, “Proteins are the building blocks of life. Every cell in the human body contains protein. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.

“You need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Protein is also important for growth and development in children, teens, and pregnant women.”

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Here are some tips from Harvard on getting the most benefit from protein.

1. Upgrade the protein on your plate. The Healthy Eating Plate encourages you to eat protein-rich foods like beans, nuts, tofu, fish, chicken, or eggs in place of less-healthy options like red and processed meats.

For example, try a turkey or black bean burger instead of a traditional beef burger. Or slice up a fresh-roasted chicken breast or salmon for your sandwich instead of using processed high-sodium lunch meat.

2. Don’t stress too much about protein quantity. Most reasonable diets provide plenty of protein for healthy people. Eating a variety of healthy protein-rich foods—for example an egg with breakfast, some turkey or beans on your salad for lunch, and a piece of salmon or tofu with a whole grain side dish for dinner—will ensure that you get all the protein and protein building-blocks (amino acids) you need. Choose higher-protein foods instead of bulking up with pricey protein shakes or powders, since some of these are loaded with sugar or other additives.

3. Try a meatless Monday—or more. Diets high in plant-based proteins and fats can provide health benefits, so try mixing some vegetarian proteins into your meals. Going meatless can be good for your wallet as well as your health, since beans, nuts and seeds, and other minimally-processed vegetarian protein sources are often less expensive than meat. Eating plant protein in place of meat is also good for the planet. It takes a lot of energy to raise and process animals for meat, so going meatless could help reduce pollution and has the potential to lessen climate change.

4. Eat soy in moderation. Tofu and other soy foods are an excellent red meat alternative. In some cultures, tofu and soy foods are a protein staple, and we don’t suggest any change. But if you haven’t grown up eating lots of soy, there’s no reason to begin eating it in large quantities. And stay away from supplements that contain concentrated soy protein or extracts, such as isoflavones, as we just don’t know their long-term effects.

Scan the Nutrition Facts label before you buy highly-processed vegetarian “fake meat” foods, since these are often as high in sodium—or higher in sodium—than their processed red meat counterparts.

5. Shift the balance of carbs and protein. Cutting back on highly processed carbohydrates and increasing protein improves levels of triglycerides and protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in the bloodstream, and so may reduce your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other type of cardiovascular disease. This shift may also make you feel full longer, and stave off hunger pangs.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, plant protein, protein, weight control

Meat, high protein diet linked to heart failure in older women – AHA

I feel strongly that the mantra eat less; move more; live longer is worthwhile. It seems that the American Heart Association (AHA) has a particular focus on eating less meats. While not a vegetarian, I have found that nuts and seeds offer an excellent and tasty alternative protein source. (See links at end of post)

    •    Postmenopausal women who follow a high-protein diet could be at higher risk of heart failure, especially if most of their protein comes from meat.
    •    Researchers combined dietary self-reports with biomarkers to determine actual dietary protein intake as self-reporting alone is often inaccurate.  

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Women over the age of 50 who follow a high-protein diet could be at higher risk for heart failure, especially if much of their protein comes from meat, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016. Continue reading

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Is There a Risk to High Protein Diets?

When this blog started it was very much a weight loss commentary. That was six years ago. I hope by now the concept has expanded to the point where – healthy eating is healthy aging. In other words we are able to maintain our weight be eating intelligently and working out regularly. There are no fad diets here. No low carb, high carb, low protein, no fat, etc. Eat balanced meals and exercise and you will be fine.

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For those reasons, I was struck by a piece inthe Wall Street Journal in the Personal Journal section entitled The Risk of High-Protein Diets.

By my reckoning the risk of any of diets like this is that they work over the short run, but don’t provide lasting health gains, they often result in damages to the body of the person depriving himself of sufficient amounts of a vital nutrient and lastly, the person just quits doing the diet and gains back the pounds.

As a senior citizen interested in living longer, I want to know about subjects like “Optimal protein intake for older adults” which was the name a panel cited in the Journal piece.

“In the human study, those consuming high levels of plant-based protein had a threefold increase in cancer mortality but no higher rate of overall mortality. Consumers of animal protein had big increases in both. That suggests, as other research has shown, that there may be benefits from minimizing consumption of animal-based protein. “These results indicate that respondents ages 50 to 65 consuming moderate to high levels of animal protein display a major increase in the risks for overall and cancer mortality,” the researchers concluded.

“For subjects 66 and older, the opposite proved true: Higher protein consumption was associated with greater survival. Gerontologists say this makes sense, because the ability to absorb protein appears to diminish in the aging body, requiring perhaps greater consumption.

“Even then, though, the takeaway is somewhat complicated. Americans tend to consume the bulk of their protein at dinner, and the body isn’t always able to process an entire day’s worth in one sitting, said Dr. Volpi, who wasn’t involved in either study. “It appears you can better use the protein you need if you distribute it across three meals, especially if you are a senior,” she said.”

My takeaway from this as a senior is that I want to consume more plant protein than animal and spread my consumption over three meals rather than rely on a big dinner. I understand that because I am over 65, I have to consume slightly more protein because my aging body doesn’t digest it as well.

Tony

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Filed under aging, protein, Weight, weight control, weight loss

What are Some Good Reasons for Eating Nuts?

In my own search for alternative sources of quality protein to take the place of the artery-clogging red meat I have added chia seeds and hemp seeds for starters.

Dr. Oz has some further suggestions in his blog post Three Health Benefits of Nuts.

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Some of the benefits he enumerates include:
“• The omega-3 fats in nuts, especially walnuts — which have six times as much as the next nearest nut — protect against heart disease.
• The fiber richness of nuts helps you lose weight. A small handful about 30 minutes before a mealtime fills you up enough to keep you from overeating.
• And (news flash) it turns out that these crunchy treats help tame type 2 diabetes.”

For some folks, the only downside of nuts is that their fats make them high in calories. A couple of good ways to include some nuts in your diet without knocking your calorie consumption out of the park is to find ways to add small quantities of them to your regular meals.

You can use them as a garnish on salads, adding protein and healthy fats without too many calories. Ditto your morning breakfast, I love walnuts on top of my oatmeal. Use your imagination and you can make some heart-healthy changes in your daily diet and boost your protein consumption, too.

Tony

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