If you go around and ask any typical Indian household what they consume for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you will find that 90% of their food source comes from carbohydrates.
The typical Indian household normally ignores the importance of protein.
Items like paneer are almost used as an accessory.
Vegetarian Diet Challenges
A meal would normally comprise of roti, rice, vegetables or pulses/legumes, or even soy protein.
This influx of glucose in their bloodstream is likely to cause metabolic disorders/obesity.
Apart from consuming high amounts of carbohydrates, another challenge in the Indian diet is the lack of protein consumption.
Importance of Protein
Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, skin, muscle, hormones.
Protein is the only nutrient which is made from Carbon, Hydrogen and NITROGEN.
Nitrogen is the one responsible for muscle repair and maintenance.
Protein is also important for immune function as it helps in the production of immunoglobulins to fight infection.
Main Source of Protein for a Vegetarian
Cottage Cheese/ Paneer
Benefits of Cottage Cheese/Paneer:
Rich in Protein
Cottage cheese is a dense source of protein especially beneficial if it is made from full-fat milk. The combination of fat-protein in one single product makes the absorption and digestion of nutrients, easier in the body.
100 grams of cottage cheese contains approximately 11 gm of protein. Cow’s milk contains the highest amount of casein protein among various kinds of milk. Therefore paneer derived out of cow’s milk is one rich source of protein you can load upon.
Another highlight of paneer is that it does not require any cooking and can be consumed directly. A cube of raw paneer, therefore, makes for a powerhouse of protein.
Strengthens Bones And Teeth
Paneer is one of the best sources of calcium. Adequate calcium levels ensure healthy bones, teeth, healthy heart muscles, and smooth nerve functioning too.
Other than iron, almost all essential minerals like calcium and magnesium are present in cottage cheese.
In addition to these, paneer is also a good source of phosphorus. The nutrient has consistently been linked to improved bone health, hereby, it helps to lower the risk of osteoporosis
Maintains Blood Sugar Levels
Paneer helps regulate blood sugar levels. The high protein component of paneer helps slow the release of sugar into the blood and prevents abrupt insulin spike.
Paneer also promotes a decline in blood sugar levels. Eating dairy products like paneer can potentially lower the risk of insulin resistance.
Cottage cheese can also aid digestion. Cottage cheese has a decent amount of phosphorous which helps in digestion and excretion.
The magnesium present in cottage cheese can also prevent constipation. Magnesium has a laxative effect. This means it draws water into the stools, making them softer and easier to pass through the intestinal walls.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are usually beneficial bacteria.
They improve digestive health, reduce depression, and promote heart health. They may even give you better-looking skin.
Getting probiotics from supplements is popular, but you can also get them from fermented foods.
The good bacteria survive the aging process in some cheeses, including cottage cheese/paneer.
Boosts Fat Loss
The protein-rich paneer can keep you satiated for long, keeping the hunger pangs at bay.
Cottage cheese/paneer seems to stimulate feelings of fullness to a similar extent as eggs.
These feelings of fullness can lead to reduced calorie intake and fat loss.
Other Supporting Sources of Food for a Vegetarian:
Milk is another good source of protein. It also contains a variety of nutrients that benefit bone health, such as calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Consuming milk and dairy products prevents osteoporosis and reduce the risk of fractures.
Cheese is a great source of calcium, good fats, and protein. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and B-12, along with zinc, phosphorus, and riboflavin.
Cheese made from the milk of 100 percent grass-fed animals is the highest in nutrients and also contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin K-2.
Cheese is also good for thyroid health, cholesterol levels and lowering insulin resistance.
Whey Protein is a fast absorbing high quality first class protein option.
- It helps in muscle repair; and is highly anabolic. It rapidly enters the bloodstream and reaches muscles faster than other protein sources, supporting faster muscle tissue growth.
- It also helps in increasing immunity.
- In human milk, 60% of the protein is whey and 40% is casein. Therefore, it is as natural and beneficial and not something new for the body to digest.
- It also increases intra concentration of glutathione, which is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.
- Growth Factors- It also contains many growth factors such as Insulin- like growth factor- I (IGF- I)) that support muscle growth. It is rich in amino acids such as arginine and lysine, which stimulate growth hormone and support muscle gain and fat loss.
- Calcium- Whey contains some Calcium derived from milk.
- Anti-oxidant – One of Whey’s major effects is its apparent ability to raise glutathione (GSH).
Summary: These are excellent choices for vegetarians, it would help them complete their daily protein requirements. These animal-based protein products contain all the amino acids that we require and qualify as first-class vegetarian sources of protein.
Plant sources of protein like soy protein, legumes/pulses, cereals, beans, rye/whole wheat are an incomplete source of good protein as it doesn’t have the complete amino acid chain.
Soy protein on the other hand also impairs the absorption of important nutrients due to their anti-nutrient nature.
List of anti-nutrients:
- Trypsin inhibitors
Functions of Protein
- Muscle contraction, transportation of nutrients like iron, and fatty acids through the body.
- Acts as a catalyst in all biochemical reactions of the body.
- It helps in controlling hormone functions like thyroid and insulin.
- Boosts nitric oxide and the growth hormone.
- Responsible for the smooth functioning of neurotransmitters in the body.
Eating correct food becomes more comfortable once we understand their health benefits.
It’s uncommon to complain about eating paneer every day because we normally don’t get tired of eating the same rice and wheat, each day.
Paneer is tasteless, which means it can be cooked in different ways.
6 Ways to Eat
It is important to realize that protein is a healing macronutrient, we probably need to include a lot more of it in our lives.