With low carbohydrate diets all the rage, most people have done their best to avoid all wheat products, especially pasta. But once you understand the ways to turn pasta into a complete protein, you can put the healthy version back into your regular dinner rotation again.
Protein and a Healthy Diet
Protein is used by the body to build healthy, strong muscles, skin, nails, and even aid in digestion. Protein also aids in weight loss, as along with physical activity, it helps to maintain muscle mass. The more muscle mass, the more calories the body burns because muscles burn more calories than fat. The daily recommended protein intake of protein for a healthy adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So, a 135 pound woman should get roughly 50 grams of protein per day.
In order for the body to produce the required proteins, it must first secure the twenty essential amino acids. These amino acids are smaller molecules which combine to build proteins in the body. Ten of these amino acids are made by the body, while the other ten must be obtained through different protein sources from food. A complete protein is one that contains all ten sources of amino acids, while an incomplete protein is one that contains some of the ten sources of amino acids. Incomplete protein sources include all plant based foods.
Pasta as Complete Protein
It was once believed that in order to make a complete protein from incomplete proteins, you were required to consume two protein sources in one meal, such as pasta and broccoli, for example. However, it has since been discovered that this is not the case. Incomplete proteins don't need to be eaten at the same time, just within one day (24 hours) of each other.
However, in order to be sure that you are getting the required complete proteins that you need, it's easier to eat them in one meal. By combining the right plant foods with whole grain or whole wheat products such as breads, cereals, and grains such as pasta, you can obtain a complete protein within one meal. Choose a plant food from the list below based on your personal tastes and combine it with pasta and you can turn it into a wholesome, healthy meal which is a complete protein. Any one of the following plant foods can be added to make a pasta dish a complete protein:
- Legumes (with the exception of soy) such as peas, and beans, including those that are dried, processed or baked.
- Vegetables, even if they are frozen.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, cashews and sunflower seeds.
Include other low fat foods from other food groups within your meal for a balanced and healthy meal plan. Don't overdo it, and remember to always keep a food journal to monitor the intake of your fat and calories. You can conveniently use the online journal provided at Fitday.