Protein: get your Goldilocks level When it comes to protein, its important to get it just right. You want not too much, and not too little, but just the right amount. You also want to get the right kinds of proteins. By the end of this session you should know what you need to eat when it comes to protein. This could make a significant difference to your health.
These are all examples of protein foods eaten in the Hot Spots, and we can eat them, too. In the Hot Spots, protein foods are eaten at most or all meals. We should try to do the same. That does NOT mean eat meat at most meals.
Which foods are protein foods? Meat Poultry Dairy products – cheese, milk, yogurt Fish Eggs Nuts Seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax, quinoa, buckwheat). Buckwheat and quinoa are used like carbs but are really the seed of a fruit and are good sources of protein.
Which foods are protein foods? Beans and peas (e.g., kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, soy beans) In other words, the main high-protein foods are living creatures and their eggs and milk, and things which come in a pod or shell – beans, nuts, seeds, lentils. In the Hot Spots, the main daily protein sources tend to be fish, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and eggs. Meat is eaten only once a week or less and it comes from lean, organic animals which roam the countryside eating a natural diet. This makes a big difference to the fat content of their flesh.
Why is protein so important for our health? We need protein to build and repair cells, to make immune bodies, and for hormones. Protein-rich foods are also good sources of B vitamins which we need for energy, brain health, and other important functions. Eating protein is really important for balancing blood sugar levels. Balancing blood sugar is key to preventing accelerated aging and chronic disease.
Why is protein so important for our health? Eating too much starch and too little protein can also cause problems with weight. This is because a high-starch diet causes insulin to instruct cells to store fuel as fat rather than burning it. Eating protein also lowers levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, so we know when to stop eating and are less likely to have cravings.
How much protein do we need? The US Recommended Daily Allowance for protein: – 63 g daily for men – 50 g for women aged 25 – 50 (more during pregnancy and lactation) To make an exact calculation, we need 0.8g daily per kg of bodyweight, which works out to 48g daily for a person weighing 132 lbs. Hot Spot people eat around 50g daily on average. The average North American eats too much protein -- approximately 150g daily. – This also tends to be unhealthy protein which is high in fat – mainly meat and cheese. – Eating this amount of rich protein can lead to acidity, inflammatory conditions, and excessive amounts of harmful putrefactive bacteria (the type that causes meat to rot) in the gut.
How much protein do we need? As a rough guide try including at each meal one or more of these: – A moderate-sized piece of fish – An egg or two – A cup of beans – A cup of dhal – A handful of nuts and seeds – A cup of quinoa – A few pieces of tofu – Some live plain yogurt – Eat red meat no more than once a week, and poultry (chicken or turkey) around once or twice a week
Recipes Fish: try baked, in fish pie, fish cakes, grilled, curried. Avoid deep- frying. Beans: try black bean tortillas, bean wraps, casseroles and soups. Add cooked or canned beans to a salad. Nuts and seeds: eat them fresh and raw, preferably straight from the shell. Add seeds to salads. You can gently heat seeds in a little soy sauce but try to limit heating as much as possible as this damages their good fats. Scrambled eggs, poached eggs, omelet, pancake made with eggs, quiche, egg-fried rice, boiled eggs, egg mayo
Recipes Meat – choose lean cuts and boil or stew, then skim the fat off. Eat with plenty of vegetables to provide fiber to get things moving down the colon, as meat can cause constipation and the vegetables will help offset the acidity of the meat. Chicken/turkey – make casseroles or roasts once a week and use the leftovers to flavor soups and other vegetable-based meals or add to salads or sandwiches.
Example day Breakfast: – Yogurt and mango smoothie with Essentials and ground flax – Peanut butter on toast Mid-morning snack: – Handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, piece of fruit Lunch: – Bean and tuna salad with quinoa, avocado and gently roasted sesame seeds Mid-afternoon snack: – Carrot dipped in hummus Dinner: – Stir-fried chicken, broccoli, zucchini, green beans, lemon and garlic with brown rice
Protein content of different foods 100g serving amount of protein provided (g) steak 30g chicken 25g cheddar cheese 25g mixed nuts 23g cod 21g quinoa 16g kidney beans12.5g tofu 12g lentils 9g 1 cup milk 8g
Protein content of different foods 100g serving amount of protein provided (g) 2 tbsp. peanut butter 8g Greek cows milk yogurt 6.4g oatmeal 6g pasta 6g 1 egg6g low-fat yogurt 5g 1 baked potato 4g brown rice2.25g spinach2.2g 1 slice brown bread 2g
Get your complete proteins We need to eat complete proteins every day. Complete proteins contain eight essential amino acids. Proteins from animals, birds, fish, and the eggs and milk they provide contain all eight essential amino acids. Most plant proteins do not contain all eight. However, mixing plant proteins such as nuts or beans with whole grains does provide all eight essential amino acids. Avocado, soy, quinoa and millet are all plant foods containing all eight essential amino acids. These are excellent additions to the diet. For example: a black bean tortilla with avocado provides all eight amino acids and a good dose of protein to the Nicoyans. For the Okinawans its fish and tofu. In Hunza, its whole wheat chapatti with dhal.
Protein as part of a balanced diet Remember, these proteins foods fit with a diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains. You also need the right fats – youll learn about this important part of the diet in a future lesson, and about how the right fats can help you slim! Once you have all of those things straight, you have the basic Hot Spot way of eating to help you be a healthy weight and avoid chronic disease.
In the Longevity Hot Spots meat is in limited supply and it is lean, organic, and free range. It is therefore lower in saturated fat, higher in good fats, and does not contain added hormones or other undesirables. Meat is enjoyed perhaps once a week or on special occasions.
Meat is a great source of protein, B vitamins, and minerals. However, eating too much meat causes acidity, inflammation, constipation, a toxic environment in the colon, and other problems. The studies are now conclusive that eating too much red meat can raise mortality rates and significantly increase the risk of cancer. The Adventist study in Loma Linda showed that eating meat increases the risk of colon and ovarian cancers by 65 percent.
Pork Pork is sometimes thought of as red meat and sometimes as white. Pork is a favorite in Bama, Okinawa, Nicoya, Campodimele, Symi, and Sardinia. A local saying in Okinawa is everything but the oink. Longevity pork is eaten in Bama. Pork is an excellent source of proline and glycine, which help keep connective tissue strong and elastic. In the Hot Spots it has the further advantage of coming from pigs eating a nutrient-rich diet of root vegetables. If you want to eat pork, look for lean, organic cuts and enjoy it as a special treat. In the Mediterranean Hot Spots, hams and salamis do not contain the cancer-causing nitrites and nitrates which are added to ours. Look for good-quality brands cured only with salt.
White meat White meat = chicken and turkey White meat is generally thought to be a healthful alternative to red meat. A 2009 National Cancer Institute study of half a million people from the US found that, while red meat raised the risk of mortality, a raised intake of white meat was associated with a slightly reduced risk of death. Remember that there may be other factors to consider, such as white meat eaters having a more healthy diet and lifestyle overall, so it does not prove that eating a lot of white meat is good for health.
White meat White meat has health advantages and disadvantages. It is a good source of protein, B vitamins, and other nutrients including Coenzyme Q10 which is good for heart muscle. Cooking the carcass to make soup provides hyaluronic acid which is used to make collagen to keep our skin youthful and elastic. On the other hand, white meat is still meat and eating too much can create acidity, inflammation, and constipation. In the Hot Spots it is good quality, organic, free range, and fed on a natural diet. It is eaten only around once a week. This is the best way to get the most advantages and least disadvantages.
Eggs Eggs are a complete protein. Egg yolks are a good source of the valuable minerals iron and zinc. Egg yolks contain the eye-protective antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Eggs contain lecithin, which helps us to digest fats. Contrary to popular belief, eggs do not raise levels of bad cholesterol in the body or increase the risk of heart disease for the majority of people. The exception to this rule is people with Type II diabetes and responders – people for whom eating dietary cholesterol has a marked impact on blood cholesterol; they may need to limit egg intake.
Eggs Eating eggs in excess may cause constipation; if that is true for you, limit consumption to around 3 eggs weekly and make sure you eat plenty of plant fiber. Some people are allergic to eggs which may cause problems such as psoriasis or eczema – if you suspect you have a problem, try excluding them from your diet for two weeks, then eat some eggs and watch for symptoms over the next three days.
Eggs Hot spot tips for eating eggs: Use free range, organic eggs for higher nutrient content and better flavor. Eggs from grass-fed hens or eggs labeled omega-3 rich will contain higher levels of beneficial omega 3 fats than other eggs. Poaching, boiling or scrambling preserves nutrients better than frying.
Dairy products Home-made organic dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter and milk are eaten in most of the Hot Spots. They are eaten in small quantities and are from lean, organic animals – usually goats, sheep, and sometimes yaks. They are usually unpasteurized. Modern dairy products are higher in saturated fats, are unlikely to contain beneficial bacteria, and usually contain hormones, dioxins, and other harmful chemicals.
Dairy products – benefits Dairy is a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. Dairy is high in calcium – however, this may not be absorbed by the body when we eat it (see below). Fermented dairy products such as yogurt and soured cream contain beneficial bacteria which we need for digestive tract health.
Dairy products Dairy products – drawbacks Dairy, especially when it comes from battery-farmed animals, is high in saturated fat which can lead to excess estrogen, inflammation, high cholesterol levels and weight gain. Dairy products contain growth factors which are associated with inappropriate cell proliferation and cancer. Breast and prostate cancer rates are highest in countries which consume the most dairy, and some experts believe there may be a link. Breast cancer rates are extremely low in non-dairy consuming countries such as Thailand and Japan.
Dairy products Dairy products – drawbacks Dairy is acid-forming, which can lead to loss of calcium from the bones. Osteoporosis levels are highest in dairy-eating countries. The Harvard Universitys Nurses Health Study, which followed 78,000 women over 12 years, found that those consuming most calcium from dairy foods had more broken bones than those who rarely drank milk. Non-organic dairy products usually contain hormones and antibiotics as well as highly toxic dioxins. Many people are allergic to or intolerant of dairy products, especially people of Mediterranean or Asian origin. Symptoms include constipation, mucus, diarrhea, and gas, eczema, respiratory problems such as asthma, and gastrointestinal problems.
Fish Fishing is a way of life in several Hot Spots. In Okinawa, Bama, Symi, Nicoya and Campodimele, fresh fish is often eaten. Fish is an excellent source of protein while being low in saturated fats so is a good alternative to meat.
Pollutants in Fish Our seas are polluted! Fish can contain mercury, PCBs, and dioxins. The bigger the fish, the more chance it has had to accumulate these in its flesh. However, research indicates that the benefits of eating fish, especially oily fish, outweigh the risks. Oily fish are mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies, sardines and to a lesser extent tuna. Restrict your intake of larger fish such as shark, tuna and swordfish. Eating fish regularly (around twice weekly) has been found to cut the risk of heart disease by over a third and to reduce total mortality by 17 percent, according to a 2006 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Pollutants in Fish The benefits of eating fish are put down largely to the omega 3 fats present and seem to reduce the risk of a wide range of illness including childhood asthma, dementia, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, heart disease, depression and cancer. Try to eat fish which is sustainably sourced, since our fishing methods are destroying our oceans! Look for canned tuna which has been caught by pole and line methods. Shellfish are a good source of protein and zinc, but farmed shellfish can be very high in pollutants, so check your sources.
Legumes Legumes = beans and peas (e.g., kidney beans, chick peas and lentils). Legumes are a staple in the Longevity Hot Spots. They are nutritious, filling, versatile and inexpensive! Legumes are a great source of protein but, unlike meat, they do not contain saturated fat. When combined with whole grains they are a source of all eight essential amino acids. Legumes are high in insoluble fiber which seems to lower the risk of colon cancer: the Adventist Study conducted in the Hot Spot Loma Linda showed that legume-eaters appear to reduce their risk of getting colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent.
Legumes Legumes are a rich source of antioxidant flavonoids, B vitamins, and minerals such as zinc, calcium and magnesium. Legumes contain phytoestrogens, weak forms of estrogen which can help balance hormones and are thought to soften the effects of the menopause and possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Soy Okinawans eat 3 ounces daily of soy products – tofu, miso, tempeh, soy sauce. Soy is thought to be possibly linked to the low breast cancer rate among Asian women. This is attributed to the phytoestrogen content of soy which may help balance estrogen levels in women. Soy is a complete protein, providing all eight essential amino acids our bodies need daily. Soy contains immune-boosting plant sterols. Soy contains both omega 3 and 6 essential fats. Soy is good for heart health as it contains compounds which protect blood vessels. Soy contains both magnesium and calcium, for heart, muscle and bone health.
Theres soy, and then theres soy The mass-produced, processed soy and soy-based TVP now available in ready meals, meat substitutes and energy bars is not very digestible, contains trypsin which inhibits protein absorption, and is often made from GM soy. Soy milk is slightly less indigestible but may still cause problems, especially if used in excess. Studies have also shown that soy supplements and processed soy products promote breast tumor growth in laboratory animals. Soy is one of the top eight allergenic foods. This may not be the case with traditional fermented soy products. Avoid modern processed soy products and go for traditional, fermented soy products such as good-quality tofu, tamari soy sauce, tempeh, and miso. Soy yogurt is also a fermented product – look for GM-free brands.
Nuts and seeds Eating nuts and seeds can have a big impact on health. Nuts and seeds are popular in the Longevity Hot Spots – usually straight from the tree. Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds are rich in heart-protective vitamin E, calcium and magnesium; Seventh Day Adventists who eat nuts five times weekly have a 31 percent lower risk of getting heart disease than those not eating them. Nuts and seeds contain omega 6 essential fats. Walnuts, hemp seeds and flax seeds also contain omega 3 fats. Both these fats are crucial for good health! Brazil nuts are high in selenium, a powerful anti-cancer antioxidant mineral.
Nuts and seeds – what to know Nuts can go rancid quickly due to their content of polyunsaturated fats, so buy the freshest you can find – preferably still in their shells. Keep them in an airtight container in a cool dry place to preserve freshness. Make sure to choose unsalted, raw nuts rather than salted, roasted ones. Nuts are fairly high in calories, but contain nutrients which are good for metabolism and should not cause weight gain, especially when included as part of the Hot Spot Diet. Some nuts, especially peanuts, can be powerful allergens.
Vitamin B12 – caution for vegans Meat – red or white, fish, eggs, and dairy products contain vitamin B12, which is essential for health, especially of the brain and nervous system. There are very few vegetable sources of B12. Vegan sources of vitamin B12 include chlorella (contained in Akea Essentials), miso, seaweed, and fortified foods such as cereals and spreads. Vitamin B12 is also produced by friendly gut bacteria. Some vegans may need to take supplements in order to to avoid health problems.
ACTIVITY This week, try to eat a healthy protein with every meal.