Majority of Indian women consume protein deficit diets which are associated with a plethora of health problems. Most women in India share heavier and more exhausting responsibilities than men and in the process often ignore their own health. Nutritional profiles among people living in various parts of India reveal a striking difference between ideal nutrient consumption and actual uptake among Indian women.
Data suggests that women consume diets particularly low in protein, consuming approximately 13% less protein than men. This disparity is more pronounced in the North-Eastern states followed by states in North India.
“Protein is an important macro-nutrient and forms the building blocks of all body cells. Of the 20 amino acids that make up protein, 9 are essential which need to be obtained through diet. Since excess proteins cannot be stored in the body, unlike fats and carbohydrates, meeting the daily protein requirements is all the more essential,” says Ritika Samaddar, Regional Head - Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics.
She adds, “The role of proteins is especially important in women’s health as it promotes bone health and also boosts the immune system, in addition to providing other health benefits. Protein lacking diets are therefore a major health concern”.
As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), for healthy living, adult females require 1 gram protein per kilogram of body weight every day. This requirement is higher among pregnant and lactating women.
Apart from being the major component of the body, proteins perform multiple and varied functions. Dietary protein supplies the building blocks of muscle tissue. It also supplies the materials needed for neurotransmitters and hormones. Overall, all the body tissues need proteins for working, repairing themselves, and for proper functioning.
Both animal food sources and plant sources can provide dietary proteins. Protein rich foods include milk, cheese, whole grains, pulses, mutton, chicken, fish and egg. However, a downside of consuming animal protein is that there is a greater chance of getting overweight because of the high fat and cholesterol content. On the other hand, a combination of plant proteins provides all the essential amino acids with the added benefit of fibre and phytonutrients.
Meeting the daily protein requirements can be a challenging task for women. By using a protein supplement in addition to regular balanced meals, women can plug this protein gap. Since most women are weight conscious these days, opting for a plant based protein supplement is a good option for them.