Proteins are considered to be the building blocks of our body. They are integral to a human being’s growth, health and overall well-being. Now, the general misconception with proteins is that all kinds of protein are good for you. However, this is far from the truth.

In moderation, proteins are probably the most important part of your diet, but if you think that binging on protein bars or consuming large amounts of meat is the right thing, then you are sadly mistaken. Irrespective of whether you are a meat-eater or a vegan, here are some protein-rich foods you should absolutely avoid.

1) Pork – Surprised? Don’t be. Although statistically, and from a nutritional point of view, pork is known to be a very protein-rich food, there are a few things you should consider before treating pork as a daily source of protein for yourself. Foremostly, you should understand that pigs are generally raised in appalling conditions all over the world, barring a few exceptions of course. These ill-bred pigs suffer from diseases and have several viruses and toxins in them more often than not.

According to a Consumer Report Survey, 148 raw samples of pork were tested randomly and nearly 70% of these were found to contain the deadly bacterium ‘Yersinia Entercolitica’ which causes gastrointestinal illnesses in human beings. Moreover, another study in the ‘Lancet’ proved that the harmful ‘Porcine Endogenous Retrovirus’ can be transmitted to human beings through the consumption of pork.

Ultimately, although certain pork preparations like bacon and ham are irresistibly delicious and high on protein, you should only consume pork that you know has been raised in a healthy and humane environment. Otherwise, you can never be sure of the illnesses you can contract through the consumption of pork.

2) Peanuts – Peanuts are known to be contaminated with a very harmful carcinogenic mold known as ‘Aflatoxin’, which can be highly inflammatory to the human body. Mostly, peanuts acquire this mold during the storing process (Apparently, Arrowhead Mills Organic Peanut Butter may be one of the only brands that has low levels of aflatoxin since they are grown and stored in the dry and arid environs of New Mexico, which do not allow the growth of mold). However, even if the peanuts have been grown organically, they can still contain the mold.

Moreover, peanuts are considered to be a high source of omega-6 fatty acids and over consumption can easily lead to an omega-3:omega-6 imbalance. American diets are heavy on omega-6 thus resulting in inflammation of the body.

Nuttzo is one of the best brands of peanut butter available in the market. It is a healthy option containing a perfect balance of omega-3 acids and 7 different kinds of nuts and seeds including almonds, cashews, chia and flax seeds which give it a wonderful, irresistible nutty flavour. Otherwise, almonds, cashews and walnuts are a much healthier option for you than peanuts.

3) Processed Soy – The general consensus is divided when it comes to deciding whether soy is a health food or not, although it is widely accepted that processed foods are not a very healthy option. However, what we do know as a surety is that Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (which is the most common ingredient in energy bars) is made using a chemical process and hence can contain harmful toxins.

Unfermented soy products can also contain anti-nutrients like ‘Phytic Acid’, which is known to hamper digestion and lead to mineral deficiency. Even tofu, which is a product of unfermented soy milk being coagulated, is as unhealthy as processed cheese.

Therefore, soy might not be as healthy as you though it to be. A better alternative is tempeh, a traditional variety of fermented soy. The fermentation process releases a lot of good nutrients, and tempeh is particularly rich in ‘Isoflavones’, which are anti-inflammatory for the human body and benefit the heart too. However, please be careful as 90% of the soy crops grown in the U.S. are genetically modified. Go for organic products instead.

4) Processed Meat – Almost all kinds of processed meats contain additives like preservatives and nitrates that can be extremely harmful for your body. Recent studies also show that the consumption of processed meats puts you at a higher risk of developing cancer.

Moreover, most of the meat we consume is ‘factory-farmed’ and loaded with pesticides, hormones and inflammatory agents that are harmful for your body. Just as they say “You are what you eat”, the same is true for animals. So animals that eat natural fodder like grass are healthier than animals that have been fed on processed grains or soy. What you need to understand is that a lot of the problems present in an animal are going to get passed on to you through consumption, so make sure that you always opt for animals that have been reared naturally and are healthy.

Ultimately, not all kinds of proteins are equal and various sources have various advantages and disadvantages for the human body. Remember to choose wisely.

Do you have a list of your own protein-laden food that you would like to share?

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