What is a Protein?
Protein is one of three essential macronutrients (carbohydrates and fats being the others) that your body needs to function properly. After water, protein is the most abundant substance in the body. This macronutrient is contained in every part of your body, muscles, skin, hair, blood, eyes, body organs, and bones. Proteins are made up of smaller building blocks called amino acids, joined together in chains. Proteins from animal sources such as meat, poultry, egg, fish are complete proteins having all the amino acids. The majority of plant proteins are incomplete because they lack at least one essential amino acid.
A complete protein is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all essential amino acids necessary for human body. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein is not stored in the body and needs to be consumed daily. If you stop eating protein, your body will start to break down muscle for its needs and you will lose muscle mass. Studies have found that getting enough lean protein is essential if you want to lose weight. With proper training, dietary protein can help you build muscle. Adequate protein intake is also essential for good health.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. There are 20 different amino acids that are used to synthesize proteins. These amino acids play a number of regulatory roles in muscle protein synthesis, insulin secretion, skin health, and brain function. They also play a key role in the transport and the storage of nutrients. The best sources of essential amino acids are animal products.
You should get at least 10% of your daily calories, but not more than 35%, from protein. As a general guide, adult men need around 56 grams of protein per day, and women need around 46 grams. Most adults would benefit from eating more than the recommended daily intake. A common recommendation for gaining muscle is 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, or 2.2 grams of protein per kg. If your sweat has an ammonia odor, your protein intake may be higher than your body needs.
- Meats: Beef, Pork, Ham, Lamb, Veal
- Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck, Goose
- Eggs: Chicken eggs, Duck eggs
- Dairy: Milk, Cottage cheese, Yogurt
- Fish: Tuna, Trout, Salmon, Halibut, Mackerel, Catfish
- Seafood: Lobster, Crab, Calms, Oysters
- Nuts: Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios
- Seeds: Sunflower seeds, Sesame seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Flaxseed
- Beens and Peas: Black beans, Soy beans, Lima beans, Lentils, Split peas, Black-eyed peas
- Look for lean or low-fat meat and poultry.
- Try to avoid processed meats such as ham, salami, bacon, and sausages.
- Vary your protein choices.
- Eat more complete proteins.
- Don't forget about fish.
- Choose and prepare foods without high fat sauces.