Protein Rich Indian Food Ideal For Weight Loss

Dr. Richa Badola, Arya, Tarannum Fatima and Kalpana Rana, Food Technology, UCALS - Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, India

2018-10-26 10:17:42



With the growing fitness trend and weight loss wave, the concept of high protein diet has evolved and popularised in the Indian market. A diet high in proteins has a number of health benefits, including maintenance of healthy body weight and loss of extra fat by maintaining satiety, while increasing muscle mass and strength. Protein is one of the essential macronutrient besides carbohydrate and fat, which besides providing energy, is also necessary for the proper growth and function of the human body. Moreover, protein-rich foods also lower blood pressure, fights diabetes and provides many more benefits.  Protein-rich foods have also been found to improve learning abilities and concentration, as well as reduce brain fog. Proteins also stimulate absorption of other nutrients from food. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men or simply speaking 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, per day. About 30% of diet should consist of protein. 

Below is a list of healthy high protein foods available in Indian market:

1. Eggs

Eggs are one of the least expensive forms of protein and full of good quality proteins. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants and brain nutrients. Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein.They are very versatile and can be included in a number of ways in daily diet. One large boiled egg contains almost no carbs and 13 g of proteins.

2. Fish or seafood

Fishes or to be more precise, sea food, enjoy a lot of prestige as ‘health food’ universally. It is loaded with important nutrients, and tends to be very high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Some commonly consumed fresh water fishes are catfish, carp, crappie, bluegill or bream, trout, walleye, bass, drum etc. Some of the most popular salt water fishes are salmon, tuna, anchovies, sardines, snapper, cod, mackerel, pomfret, herring etc.Rawas (Indian Salmon) contains 25 to 26 gram protein per 100 gram. Katla contains 23 gram protein per 100 gram, while Rohu and Bangda 17 g. Crab contains 21 gram protein per 100 gram, while prawns 21 g.

3. White-meat poultry

White meat of poultry is excellent source of lean protein. Dark meat is a little higher in fat.Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein-rich foods. 1 roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams proteins.

4. Dairy foods

Dairy foods such as milk, curd/yoghurt, paneer/cheese, etc. are excellent sources of protein, and they also contain valuable calcium, and many are fortified with vitamin D. Skim or low-fat dairy products consumption has popularised as besides providing benefits of protein, they keep bones and teeth strong and help prevent osteoporosis.1 cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of protein. Around 100g of paneer contains 11g of protein. Curd contains no carbohydrates and 10 g of protein per 100 g.

5. Soy

Soy is a complete protein that has blood-pressure lowering and LDL-cholesterol oxidising benefits. Along with its high protein content it’s extremely rich in Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Calcium and Selenium. Various soy products are available in the market such as tofu, soy milk or soy flour. 100 g soybean provides 36 g of protein and fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%.

6. Pulses/ Legumes

Legumes like kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas are a great source of protein. Because of their high-fibre content they also help in fat loss. They are among the world's best sources of plant-based protein, and are an excellent food for vegetarians and vegans. They are high in fibre, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese and various other nutrients. 1 cup (198 g) of boiled lentils contains 18 g protein. 100-gm serving of chickpea contains 19 g of proteins. A 100-gm black bean serving contains 21 g of protein and high amounts of dietary fibre.

7. Grains (e.g. oats, millets etc.)

Grains, like oats, wheat,amaranth, ragi and bajra (millets), are packed with protein. Amaranth protein is referred to as 'complete' because it contains lysine, an amino acid missing or negligible in many grains.Oats are among the healthiest grains on the planet. They are loaded with healthy fibres, magnesium, manganese, thiamine (vitamin B1) and several other nutrients. Half a cup of raw oats has 13 g protein.Quinoa is a seed/grain that is currently among the world's most popular superfoods.It is high in many vitamins, minerals and fibre, and is loaded with antioxidants and has numerous health benefits. One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa has 8 g protein.

8. Nuts

Nuts are a powerhouse of unsaturated fat, fibre and protein. This means that they have filling effect leading to low BMI, higher life expectancy and even help to stabilise blood sugar. Cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, fox nuts (makhanas) and peanuts harbour higher amounts of proteins. They are incredibly delicious. They can be consumed as such, or in roasted form or as an ingredient or in form of butter and spread. 100-g serving of walnuts contains 15 g of proteins. Similarly one ounce (28 g) of almonds contains 6 g proteins.A 100-g serving of pistachios contains 20 g of protein and 10 g of dietary fibre. 

9. Seeds

Seeds are good source of protein as well and are super versatile to use.  Some common examples of high protein seeds are flax seeds, sesame seed (til), chia seed, sunflower seed, etc. Sunflower seeds, for instance, contain 3.3g of protein per 100 calories. 1 ounce (28 g) of pumpkin seeds has 5 grams of protein.

10. Protein rich vegetables

Some vegetables are known to have high protein content such as peas, cauliflower, corns, spinach, asparagus, etc. Peas are a good source of plant-based protein and have a decent amount of fibre. One cup of peas has about 10g of plant-based protein. Cauliflower is one of the veggies that have approx. 2g of protein per 100 grams of serving.Mushrooms are packed with good amount of protein i.e. 3.1 g per 100g.

11. Coconut

Coconut is also a great source of protein and being high in threonine, an amino acid, it also protects the liver. Both coconut water and coconut pulp are highly nutritious. Coconut water offers an array of health benefits and is highly recommended, especially during the summer season. Raw coconut is also rich in medium-chain triglycerides – which can aid weight loss. A single serving of coconut meat offers several minerals, and several substances which can help boost immunity. 1 medium coconut (the meat) contains 13.2 grams of protein.

12. Whey protein supplements

Whey protein is the water-soluble part of milk, and it is widely considered to be the best protein source. Whey is often used as a protein supplement, especially to hit targeted daily protein goals. This form of protein is absorbed faster than other forms, and it increases muscle protein synthesis. Whey also offers a large amount of L-cysteine, an amino acid whose deficiency usually occurs during the aging process and diabetes. Even as the amount of protein in whey protein can vary between brands, on an average they offer about 20 to 50 grams of protein per serving.