Healthy Habits :The Power of Protein
It has long been a myth that to build strong bones and muscles you must drink milk and eat meat. Increased protein in the diet has been trending for years, but research shows eating protein from a variety of sources is good for overall health. Protein is one of three macronutrients the body needs to perform functions like building and repairing tissues, as well as making hormones and enzymes.
The bodies’ tissues and organs are made up of proteins. Proteins, when eaten, are broken down into various amino acids then used to perform functions on the cellular level. Protein in foods supply the body with amino acids used to build proteins, on a cellular level, based on the need in the body at the time.
It is important to recognize the different food proteins available and how each plays a different role, making it important to eat a variety of different foods to enhance the efficiency of protein breakdown to amino acids in the body. Not all proteins are created equally.
Complete proteins, found in animals and soybean products, contain all the essential amino acids relative to the bodies’ need for them.
Animal Protein Sources:
• Meat • Poultry • Fish/Seafood • Eggs • Dairy (cottage cheese, milk, cheese, yogurt)
Incomplete proteins, found in plants, are missing various essential amino acids. This means to make a complete protein; a variety of plant-based proteins are needed throughout the course of the day to complement each other for sufficient protein synthesis.
There are multiple sources of plant proteins which can be a substitute or can complement lean animal protein options.
Plant Protein Sources:
●Peanut butter ●Nut butters ●Cereals, Breads & Pastas ●Vegetables ● Rice ●Seeds ●Legumes ●Tofu ●Nuts
Legumes include dried beans and peas and are in both the vegetable and the protein group. They provide B vitamins, fiber and are a good source of protein. Legumes are a great protein option because they are naturally low in fat and cholesterol free.
List of Legumes:
●Black beans ●Black-eyed peas ●Split peas ●Garbanzo (chickpeas) ● Red beans ●Pinto beans ●White navy beans ●Lentils ●Soy beans ●Kidney Beans
Extra protein is converted to energy (glucose) and is stored as fat when energy needs have been met. There are no known health benefits from consuming excess protein, and it is thought that the higher a person’s intake of animal protein, fewer fruits and vegetables are consumed because they are being crowded out of the diet.
Protein keeps you feeling full, longer because it causes your stomach to empty more slowly. Pairing carbohydrates with protein slows the rise of blood sugar. Creating meal patterns based on a variety of food sources is the best way to achieve success for overall health. Protein needs vary depending on age, activity level and growth of an individual.
This week’s HEALTHY HABIT: Divide your weight by 2.2 then multiply by 0.8. This is the minimum recommended daily protein intake in grams. Eat protein at every meal.