Everyone wants to enjoy optimal health, and there are many factors that must be considered when working towards getting healthy. However, one of the most important aspects is protein intake.
Protein is the basic structure of a chain of amino acids and is a component of every single cell in the human body – it is essential to life.
Why Protein is So Important
Protein is absolutely essential for the growth and development of children, teenagers and pregnant women, and is an important element in every diet as it is required for the body to repair damaged cells, as well as generate new ones.
Large amounts of protein are also required for people trying to lose weight, as this occurs most efficiently when bodies can enter ketosis.Protein is as crucial to the human body as water and is an element in literally every part of the body’s composition.
Daily Recommended Intake
Based on a fairly standard 2000 calorie a day diet, a person will require about 75 grams of protein, equating to a minimum of approximately 15% of their total nutritional intake.
Increasing protein consumption by up to 20 or 25 percent of your caloric intake, and replacing harmful carbohydrates found in white breads, sugary drinks, and white rice, with protein, can help reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. High protein diets will also help a person stay full and satisfied longer.
Types of Protein
Proteins found in foods fall into two categories – complete proteins and incomplete proteins.
Complete proteins are derived from animal products and contain all essential amino acids that are necessary to keep a body fit and healthy.
Incomplete proteins are found in plant based food products and do not offer the same quantities of amino acids. This means these proteins must be consumed in larger quantities, and in various combinations to obtain everything required for idea health and function.
Obviously animal products provide the best source of protein, but this does not disclude vegetarian options as a healthy choice, as long as special care is taken to ensure enough proteins are being taken in.
Food Sources of Amino Acids
Amino acids come from protein foods being broken down during digestion. The human body is reliant on a number of amino acids in large quantities to achieve and maintain good overall health.
They are classified into three basic groups, essential, nonessential and conditional. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. Therefore, they must be obtained through food while the body makes non-essential amino acids during digestion. Conditional amino acids are required when the body is experiencing stress or illness.
Although the recommended intake of protein is two to three servings a day, the exact amount necessary will vary depending on age, sex and general health of the person.
Good sources of protein are not hard to find, and include such foods as:
- Lean chicken or turkey with the skin removed
- Fish and shellfish
- Many types of beans, including garbanzo, pinto, kidney, and lentils
- Low-fat dairy products
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds, although one should be careful to monitor intake as these foods have a high fat content.
When a person lacks protein through nutrition, it is possible for them to buy supplements online to help boost their protein intake.
Available in a powder form, ideal for shakes or adding to other food items, protein is available in several types including whey and soy.
Supplementing your protein intake can improve overall general health and make the difference in success or failure when it comes to muscle building or weight loss attempts.