Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life. Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight (or muscle), feel more satiated, or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, eating the right amount of healthy proteins is the way to go. When proteins are digested and broken down, amino acids are what’s left. The human body uses the amino acids to maintain and build new proteins. These proteins help the body break down food, grow, repair tissues, and carry out many other essential body functions. In addition, they are used as an important source of energy by the body as well.
Proteins can be found in a variety of foods, which are broken up in to two categories: complete and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins include meat, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, quinoa, and soy and they provide all of the amino acids we need. Incomplete proteins such as grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds provide some but not all of the amino acids our bodies need. Pairing incomplete but complementary proteins like rice and beans will provide the same amino acids as a complete protein. When it comes to choosing the healthiest choices for protein, there are a few simple ways to go:
• Whether you are vegetarian or not, we should all eat more plant based proteins such as beans, quinoa, lentils, and eggs.
• Enjoy lean meats such as chicken with the skin removed and fish. Aim to eat 2 servings of fatty fish per week, which are a great source of lean protein and heart-healthy omega-3’s.
Getting enough protein is important so the body can perform all of the essential functions discussed above on a daily basis. Every person can aim to have some kind of protein at every meal to stay healthy and satiated.