A lot of questions are sent to my office in Riviera Beach, Florida, asking for that magic food that will take years off and boost good health. There’s no magic food, but a magic combination of macronutrients. Protein is one of three macronutrients, with fat and carbohydrates being the other two. Just having those three doesn’t ensure you have a healthy diet, but it’s a start. Knowing why protein is important to help you understand the basic fundamentals.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Not only are amino acids the building blocks of protein, protein breaks down in your stomach to amino acids, which then move through your body to repair or build new cells and for growth, trigger certain biological reactions as enzymes, are part of the hormonal system, build connective tissue, provide energy, maintain the body pH, become part of the immune system, balance fluids and transporting and storing nutrients throughout the body. You can see that protein is necessary for almost all bodily functions and without it, you’d die. The body can manufacture some of its own amino acids, but there are nine essential amino acids, which they can’t. These come from the food you eat.
Lack of each of the nine types of essential amino acid has different effects on the body.
Too little histidine can cause anemia or low blood levels are more prevalent with kidney disease and arthritis. Lysine helps build muscle and maintains bone strength, also regulating hormones, enzymes and anti bodies. Methionine keep your hair and nails strong. Lack of isoleucine can cause shaking muscle wasting. Lack of leucine can cause hair loss, fatigue and skin rashes. Phenylalanine converts to a hormone required for certain brain functions. Lack of tryptophan can cause pellagra. Valine plays many roles and deficiency can even lower your mental functioning. Threonine is necessary for healthy teeth and skin.
Foods you should eat to get all nine essential amino acids.
If you eat meat, poultry and fish you’ll serve your body some histidine, isoleucine, lysine and tryptophan. Nuts and seeds will provide histidine, lysine, methionine, isoleucine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. Dairy offers threonine, valine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine and tryptophan. Other sources of essential amino acids are eggs, legumes, soy, mushrooms, wheat germ, whole grains and beans. As you can see the choices are varied and can easily be part of everyone’s diet.
- You’ll feel fuller for longer when you eat protein. Not only does it reduce your hunger, it can also increase your metabolism.
- When you eat food that’s a protein with a sugary treat, it can help regulate your blood sugar. It slows the body’s absorption of sugar and keeps you from cravings that occur when it drops low that you might have otherwise.
- One way to get more variety of protein and help keep your calories in check is to carry snacks of nuts and seeds available. Put a serving size in baggies and keep them at your desk to avoid looking for a sweet treat and bump your protein intake.
- Don’t worry if it all looked too complicated. We make getting all the essential types of protein you need easy with our customized meal plan and specialized diets at I Am Breakthrough Wellness. Try our free demo.