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Protein plays a crucial role in the functioning of the body, including the development of immunity, the production of hormones, enzymes, and haemoglobin. In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, people have realized the importance of eating healthy. Eating healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle is the key to building one’s immunity. Though there is no single food that offers protection from infections, eating healthy helps us to fight any disease or infection better. A diet rich in protein and micronutrients is essential to build one’s immunity.
Protein, the macronutrient, essential for growth and repair is needed on a daily basis as part of our healthy balanced meal plan. The RDA for protein for an average Indian adult is 0.8-1.0g per kg body weight, which is around 50-60 g of protein per day for the healthy adult population. Intake of a protein-rich diet helps in fast recovery, especially after an illness.
The latest survey by the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) to ascertain the levels of protein deficiency and awareness about protein in India showed 73% of urban rich is protein deficient, with 93% of them unaware about what proteins to take and what their daily protein requirements.
It is important to understand the quality of protein when we include it in our diets. Quality of protein can be defined by its bioavailability and its amino acid profile. Poultry like chicken, duck, turkey and eggs are the best source of bioavailable proteins and are termed as complete proteins, since all the dietary essential amino acids are abundantly present in them when compared to the plant-based diets.
Complete protein sources like chicken, turkey, duck and egg are high on quantity and quality and 100% digested. They are packed with the goodness of healthy proteins, fats and micronutrients, and its high protein content makes them a great immunity boosting food. One egg gives around 7 g of protein, whereas 100g of chicken, duck or turkey is around 20-21g. Poultry and eggs are also loaded with micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin B12, zinc, Iron, and selenium.
So, the focus should be not just on the quantity but also the quality of protein one consumes. Poultry plays a vital role in catering to the protein needs of the human body and has multiple health benefits. Lean protein rich meals with poultry can make you feel fuller despite eating less, which helps to promote better weight management. Poultry contains heme iron, which helps to prevent anaemia because the body absorbs this iron better than non-heme iron found in plant foods.
High-quality protein, like poultry, have been shown to prevent muscle loss more effectively than other protein foods. Zinc, an important micronutrient which helps maintain optimal immune function and promotes wound healing, is abundant in poultry. Chicken contains the amino acid tryptophan, which has been linked to higher levels of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone in our brains, hence it helps to boost your mood.
Just as we need oxygen to breathe, our body needs proteins to combat the muscle breakdown from our daily activities. Thus, protein is rightly called the building block of life. Chicken can be a great addition to a balanced diet. Choose healthy cooking methods like baking, grilling, stir-frying, or steaming and enjoying alongside with a variety of veggies is key to eating healthy and getting all nutrients your body needs.