Why can too much protein be a problem?

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average American male consumes 102 grams of protein per day, while the average female eats about 70 grams. That’s almost twice the daily recommended intake established by the Food and Nutrition Board.

For starters, meat is a major source of protein in the American diet, and animal foods high in protein are often high in saturated fat. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), foods high in saturated fat can increase risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention’s recommended daily protein intake chart:
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Additionally, people who have a problem processing excess protein may be at risk for kidney and liver disorders and osteoporosis. The AHA does not recommend high-protein diets for weight loss, stating that high-protein diets can “restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and don’t provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs.”

The CDC recommends choosing healthier protein-rich foods instead of red and processed meats because it may reduce heart disease.

According to a study reported in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association. Eating more fresh red meat, processed red meat and high-fat dairy carried an increased risk of heart disease in the study. Women who had two servings per day of red meat compared to those who had half a serving per day had a 30 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease.

“Our study shows that making substitutes for red meat or minimizing the amount of red meat in the diet has important health benefits,” said Adam M. Bernstein, M.D., Sc.D., the study’s first author and post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.

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So what are the best protein sources?
While animal proteins usually contain all of the essential amino acids forming complete proteins, eating a varied, plant-based diet can also meet all of your protein needs. Green leafy vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruits are a few among the plethora of other plant foods that provide many health benefits.

There are countless scientific studies that have helped a lot in spreading the awareness about the advantages of shifting to plant based diets. More and more Americans today know the importance of a balanced, healthy diet and are shifting to a diet rich in plants and vegetables.

If you are strictly a meat eater but plan to add more fruits and vegetables in your diet, the best way is to start slowly. One serving per day or less and gradually increase the quantity as you get used to it.

Plant-based proteins also don’t have any saturated fat, and are usually lower in calories.

Resources:
Article: Jessica Jones, MS, RD
Protein Fact Sheet
To read more about protein click here

Spirulina Is High In Protein

According to Greenmedinfo, spirulina was considered a superfood and the primary source of protein by the Mayans and Aztecs for thousands of years. That’s because it contains between 65 and 71% all-vegetarian protein, the highest concentration found in any food.

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Spirulina is a microscopic algae that flourishes in warm climates and warm alkaline water. It is available dried and freeze-dried. It’s also available in pill or powder form, or as flakes.

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Spirulina is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the essential amino acids as well as 10 other amino acids. This makes spirulina an excellent source of protein for building muscle, bone, strength and endurance, as well as balancing blood sugar and brain chemistry. The protein in spirulina is also four times more easily absorbed by the body than are animal proteins.

In addition to protein, spirulina is the best available source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is an anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid necessary for a strong immune system as well as nervous system health.

Spirulina thrives in salty alkaline water where toxins cannot survive, so it is a very pure food. And because it provides more than 100 nutrients, it is often described as the most complete food source. Among the many nutrients it provides are iron (as much as red meat), vitamin E, zinc, B vitamins, copper, calcium, sulfur and magnesium. It is also a rich source of vitamin A in the form of the antioxidant beta-carotene.

What are the proven health benefits of spirulina?

Studies have proven that spirulina has many health benefits. Here are just a few of the things spirulina may do:

    Promote stem cell genesis and protects against declines in neural stem cell proliferation
    Provide antiviral properties
    Fight inflammation and arthritis
    Favorably affect lipid profiles, immune variables and antioxidant capacity
    Relieve experimentally induced colitis
    Provide high concentrations of zeaxanthin, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
    Protect bone marrow cells from radiation
    Improve insulin resistance