Points to Ponder: Protein and Plants

little dog with a collar and coat for the cold

“Cute dog in a coat & collar to protect him from the cold”  ©Terry Tasche

Geese taking off from Chicago's North Pond ©Terry Tasche

“Taking off from Chicago’s North Pond” ©Terry Tasche

“For lack of knowledge the people perish.” ~ King David

Let that statement not be true of any of you.

Keep from perishing by pondering these two easy-to-remember food categories that start with the letter P: Protein and Plants.

A good and healthy diet can be boiled down into two main and easy-to-remember categories consisting of two words that each begin with the letter p: Protein and Plants. Put these two healthy p’s on your plate and give your palate the healthy products you need. Incorporating this catchy combo into your daily diet will help keep your body running smoothly.

There are a plethora of protein products and plenty of healthy plants to help keep you healthy for a lifetime.

Proteins are the building blocks of life and include choices like chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, eggs, and dairy. There are many plants that contain protein, too. Plants also contain complex carbohydrates, and provide healthy calories, vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fiber. Plants come in all textures and tastes and are pleasing to the palate and are arrayed in every color of the rainbow. These two P-pals, protein and plants, are plentiful and provide powerful energy.

Some problem p’s to steer clear of are processed foods and pre-packaged stuff that many of us love so much. You’ll live longer and healthier lives without them. Let’s face it, man’s processed products are just not as healthy as plants and natural proteins. You won’t die if you give up junk food, but may die sooner if you don’t cut down on it.

Here are a few fun facts of some plants that contain protein, and also happen to start with a p: pine nuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and peas.

  • Pine nuts contain 31% protein by weight. That is the highest protein content of any of the nuts. Pine nuts are also a good source of dietary fiber.
  • Peanuts are high in protein and grow in pods. The People’s Republic of China leads in production of peanuts. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, eating more nuts is associated with improved blood cholesterol levels. Other protein-rich nuts that start with p are pistachios and pecans.
  • Pepitas, which are pumpkin seeds that are hulled and roasted, are referred to as pepitas. They are an excellent source of amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin. Serotonin is often labeled “nature’s sleeping pill.”  These hulled seeds can lull us to sleep, meaning they can soothe and calm naturally. Two Ps they contain are protein and potassium and are a good source of fiber and iron, too.
  • Peas also contain a high proportion of protein, and they are very popular with kids. They’re part of the pulse family, meaning they come from plants with pods.

Mind your p’s and q’s and eat some quinoa, too, a healthy grain packed with protein, a high-protein alternative to rice or pasta, which have no protein to speak of.

There are many other plants, like pecans and pistachios, that start with a p, also parsnips, persimmons, pomegranate, potatoes, popcorn, and Portabella mushrooms to name a few.

Antioxidants in food, such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, can come to the rescue and remove the free radicals that damage cells. An issue of Consumer Reports  states, “The body produces free radicals during exercise and when converting food into energy. Other factors that trigger the production of free radicals are cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, and exposure to sunlight, and environmental contaminants like pesticides. Free radicals can potentially overwhelm the body’s natural defenses. In time, that process is thought to play a role in chronic conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Antioxidants also have other beneficial effects, including combatting inflammation.”

So, ponder these points and protect your health by including protein and plants in meals and snacks, and remember to keep the focus on all the great P’s of health!

Copyright ©  Terry Tasche. All Rights Reserved

Milwaukee Pabst Mansion

Pabst Mansion

P.S. Searching my image inventory I found a photo subject starting with the letter P. Since Dr. Oz reported that beer is a healthy beverage, here’s the Milwaukee, Wisconsin,  historic Pabst Mansion of Pabst beer fame.

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