We hear so much about the importance of protein and amino acids in our diet, but what are they?
Proteins are a part of every cell, tissue and organ in our body. Our body proteins are broken down and replaced. The proteins in the foods we eat are digested into amino acids that are used to replace the proteins in our body. Amino acids are the chemical building blocks of protein and contribute significantly to the health of our nervous system, muscular structure, hormone production, vital organs and cellular system. They are critical for good health.
Structurally, our bodies are mainly comprised of proteins developed from amino acids. From twenty (20) amino acids, the body manufactures more than 50,000 different types of proteins that play vital roles in our body.
There are non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids are manufactured by our body. Essential amino acids are not manufactured by our body; therefore we must acquire them through the foods we eat.
The proteins in foods that contain all of the essential amino acids are called complete proteins. Complete proteins will be found in animal sources and soy sources (tempeh, tofu, miso, edamame, fresh soybeans, some soy milks) and from quinoa (a whole grain).
Rather than try to combine amino acids at every meal, focus on eating a variety of protein-rich foods on a daily basis.
One of the healthiest combinations of amino acids include:
Nuts, Seeds, Beans, Whole soy foods, Whole grains and certain Vegetables.
How much protein do you need?
The answer varies based on bio-individual factors and are not the same for everyone. A general, global rule of thumb is:
Women age 19 - 70+ 46 grams each day
Men age 19 – 70 + 56 grams each day
LisaMarie Tersigni, CHHC, AADP
Inspiring Wellness Solutions, LLC