The Power of Protein

protein-enriched-foods

Why all the hype these days about foods containing protein? Why is important to us and where do we find it in our foods?

Did you know that about 17% of the human body is made of proteins? Proteins determine the biological activities of our body and literally, control every function of our whole body down to the cellular level! What is amazing about proteins is that they are either made within our bodies or we must consume them through our diet. Proteins are comprised of amino acids and it is these amino acids that the human body must have. Humans can create 10 of the 20 amino acids through a process called biosynthesis, but the other 10 must be provided in our food. These amino acids are referred to as “essential” amino acids because your body does not have the ability to manufacture them.

All this is said to reinforce that you must consume adequate amounts of protein in order for your body to function optimally and for you to feel your best!

So what proteins should you eat? What are the best sources to include in your diet?

Protein-rich food sources are often grouped into categories based on their amino acid profile as related to the need for the essential amino acids. Foods high in protein content are referred to as “high-quality proteins” and include animals and animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Yet, vegetables are great sources of proteins and in the right combinations can achieve the required amino acid balance.   For example, some common combinations include:

  • Pulses (beans, peas, lentils) and diary products
  • Whole grains with pulses
  • Pulses with seeds and nuts
  • Dairy with whole grains

So, as you can see, consuming proteins is critical to our good health. But as in all things, eat them in moderation. Nutritionists say that about 13- 20% of our calories should come from protein sources.

Sources:

http://www.biology.arizona.edu › Biochemistry

http://www.eatbalanced.com/why-eat-balanced/why-do-we-need-protein/

 

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