(NaturalNews) Many common brands of protein powders and protein drinks contain high levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury according to the most recent issue of Consumer Reports magazine. All fifteen different powders and drinks tested contained measurable amounts, some quite high. Consumer Reports also argued that most people in the United States including athletes get ample protein in their diets. Heavy metal toxicity and excess protein consumption are both dangerous for one`s health.
Proteins, whether from plants or animals, are broken down by the body into amino acids which are then used to form our cells and tissues. In the United States it is almost impossible to get too little protein.
Protein requirements set out by the World Health Organization range from a minimum of 0.45 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight to 0.8 grams protein per kilogram. It may increase 1 gram for endurance athletes. One pound equals 0.45 kilograms, so a 150 pound person would weigh about 68 kilograms. Excess protein can cause severe health issues such as dehydration and kidney failure.
Good vegetarian sources of protein include beans, grains such as quinoa, eggs, seeds such as hemp seeds, and even leafy green vegetables; they can give substantial amounts of protein when eaten in high enough amounts. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 14 grams of protein. One egg contains about 6 grams of protein and one cup of raw spinach contains 1 gram of protein.
Whereas protein deficiency is not a common problem in this country, lead and other heavy metal poisoning is. Heavy metals get into tissues including the brain, heart and kidneys and are extremely difficult for the body to eliminate. Children are especially prone to heavy metal poisoning but everyone is at risk. Symptoms of heavy metal toxicity include fatigue, nausea, depression, decreased thyroid and adrenal function, and even seizures.
Blending hemp seeds, green leafy vegetables or cooked grains like quinoa into a home-made smoothie of fresh and frozen fruit and water is a much healthier way to get protein than supplementing with questionable store-bought powders and drinks.
Melissa Sokulski is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and founder of the website Food Under Foot, a website devoted entirely to wild edible plants. The website offers plant descriptions, photographs, videos, recipes and more. Her new workbook, Wild Plant Ally, offers an exciting, hands-on way to learn about wild edible plants. Melissa also runs The Birch Center for Health in Pittsburgh, PA, providing the best in complementary health care: acupuncture, therapeutic massage and herbal medicine.