When we say women, we know well how multitasking they are!! Whether its managing her career, looking after kids or managing the kitchen, everything is taken care of except her own health. Along with this some clinical signs like weakness, drowsiness, poor concentration are commonly observed. As per the Indian surveys, women are more prone to metabolic disorders like diabetes, cholesterol, PCOS, weight management issues. If we look at a woman’s plate, they have more carbohydrates and proteins are almost negligible. To fuel up the human body, quality nutrition is a must. Inculcating healthy fats, well-proportioned carbohydrates and first class proteins which is termed as a “balanced diet” in terms of nutrition science.
Importance of proteins for women’s health: –
· Satiety – Mindful eating, setting goals on a daily basis and behavioral modification are basic principles everyone needs to follow specially for women who are on weight management! Amongst all the macronutrients, proteins are the sole source of all which helps in suppressing cravings and improving satiety. It depends on a combination of evenly distributed amino acid profiles throughout the day which has to be consumed. Studies have proven that plant based proteins are effective in this scenario due to their “complete amino acid profile”. Many women with erratic lifestyles who don’t have time to prepare meals are commonly observed replacing meals with protein powders for weight loss.
· Lean body mass – Women are more prone to fat deposition and poor muscle development which indirectly affects physical performance. Due to inadequate protein intake, there is no muscle development synthesis in them. Clinical research has proven that women who are on a high protein drink / supplementation for three months, improvement in terms of muscle mass preservation – strength and lean body mass was examined.
· Thermogenesis – Having a high protein meal increases energy expenditure and decreases glycemic index and glycemic load of the food. This in turn improves insulin sensitivity. The thermogenic effect of whey protein powder is more as compared to soya or casein protein powder due to slow gastric emptying and power of satiety indeed.
· Bone health – Whenever we talk about bones, the first thing which comes to our mind is Calcium and Vitamin D. But the universal truth is protein also contributes to bone health. Whether its osteoporosis or bone mineral density, women are the worst affected specially post menopause. Inculcating good quality proteins to our daily plate ensures retaining bone strength and minimal bone loss along with balance of Calcium and D3 levels.
· Ultimate solution to hair, skin and nails – Whether its hormones, enzymes, immunity, hair, skin or nails, protein is essential for daily sustenance. There is no shortcut or any magical medication for this. Collagen is an amino acid which is majorly found in skin, bones etc… Keratin is also formed through a combination of various amino acids for better hair health.
· Aging – As women keep on aging, the protein requirement increases as per the strata. Redistribution and frequency of protein intake needs to be worked upon to initiate healthy aging in women. 50% of muscle mass loss is observed in women post menopause with great changes in mood swings too. To be specific, supplementing BCAAs would prove beneficial [specially leucine for anabolic response].
· Weight management – Women who are looking for fat loss or maintaining weight are more prone to muscle loss. A high protein diet when combined with complex carbohydrates have improved metabolic effects on the body. The type of protein consumed also impacts the body composition [fat free mass].
Signs and symptoms of being protein deficient:
Tremendous hair fall.
Pigmentation on skin.
Poor energy levels.
Impaired healing process.
Protein Recommendation: –
As per the Indian RDA, a woman needs to have a minimum 0.8 gram/kg/body weight to 1.2 gram/kg/body weight as per her current lifestyle. Out of total calories, 35% of the calories should be met by good quality protein into a daily routine for a normal individual. If she is not able to meet up her daily requirements, protein powder can be opted with help of a Nutritionist.
Protein Sources for Women: –
Vegan – Quinoa, Chickpeas, Peanuts, Spirulina, Tofu.
Non Vegetarian – Chicken, Fish, Eggs, Meat, Shrimp.
Vegetarian – Dals, Pulses, Milk Products, Nuts & Seeds.
Protein Powder for Women: –
While looking out for good protein powders in the market for women, considering these essential factors are a must!
ü Select the type of protein you would like to switch to [plant based/whey based etc].
ü Type of Ingredients used (friendly).
ü Check for safety, intolerance and allergies towards ingredients if any.
ü Cost of the supplement should be affordable.
ü No additives or colourings should be used.
ü Addition of superfoods which can boost overall health.
ü PDCAA score should be 1.
ü Should meet a complete amino acids profile.
ü Read the USP’s of the product carefully.
So here we conclude, protein has a huge role in keeping the body from unnecessary stress like the metabolic syndrome, negative energy balance, obesity. Having the right proportion of proteins would bring about realistic changes in women’s life. Let’s proceed with how to choose the right protein powder for today’s women in this busy world.
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