Proteins are organic compounds made up of building blocks called “amino acids.” There are about 20 common amino acids. Nine of them are considered “essential” because the body cannot make them, and therefore, they must be supplied by eating healthy.
Complete and Incomplete
Foods that contain all of the essential amino acids are called “complete proteins.” These complete protein foods are generally animal foods. Plant foods do not, as a rule, have complete proteins, but by eating combinations of plant foods, called “complementary proteins,” you can obtain a complete protein.
Definition protein - Why you need it in your diet
Protein has a number of functions in the body. The one that most people think of is that protein is the building material for our skin, bones, muscles and other tissues in the body. Whenever there is any damage to any of our tissues, either due to normal wear and tear, or to injury, protein is necessary to rebuild that tissue. To be healthy, eating protein is also necessary to build brand new tissue, which makes it very important to children and pregnant women.
Proteins also function as regulators of fluid balance and acid-base balance, which help keep you from swelling up, drying up, and/or becoming toxic, any of which could be life-threatening. Protein is also involved in the clotting of blood, which keeps all your blood from draining out when you cut yourself.
In addition, protein is a major component of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones.These are chemicals that play a major role in many processes in the body that, among other things, digest your food, fight disease and allow you to enjoy a healthy love life.
Proteins also act as transporters in the body, carrying important nutrients. These nutrients can get on the protein “bus” and travel to places in the body where they are needed. For example, hemoglobin, a protein in the blood, carries oxygen from your lungs to your cells.
Finally, protein can be used by your body for energy. Needless to say, this is not the best use of protein, since it has so many uniquely important functions, as listed above, but without another source, your body can convert protein to energy.
When we talk about protein in our diets, we are mainly talking about meat, eggs and dairy products. Another way of saying this is, generally, most of the protein in our meals comes from the main course.
Steak… Hamburger… Roast Beef… Pork chops… Ham… Bacon… Sausage… Hot dogs… Lamb chops… Chicken… Turkey… Duck… Capon… Fish… Shrimp… Lobster… Crab… Scallops… Venison… Omelets… Egg Salad…
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt are also excellent sources of healthy protein.
In addition, there are some plant foods that are good sources of healthy protein. These are the legumes, grains, some vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Lentils… Split peas… Kidney beans… Pinto beans… Black beans… Soybeans… Garbanzo beans… Navy beans… Peanuts… Peanut Butter… Rice… Wheat…. Barley… Oats… Peas… Kale… Okra… Walnuts… Brazil Nuts… Almonds… Pumpkin Seeds… Sesame Seeds….