Saturday, October 17, 2009


All living creatures from the tiniest microbe to the largest animals are composed of protein. Next to water, protein is the next largest portion of our bodies. Vital for development and growth, proteins carry out most of the chemical processes and make up the majority of body tissues, muscles, skin, and organs. In addition, proteins are necessary for the manufacture of our antibodies, enzymes, and hormones, plus maintenance of our bodies’ acid-alkaline stability. Good nutritional sources of protein include:
  • beans,
  • eggs,
  • fish,
  • meat,
  • nuts, and
  • seeds.
There are about twenty-eight commonly known amino acids combined in various ways to create hundreds of different proteins in all living things. Our bodies assemble amino acids building blocks for various processes coming either from our food intake or from our bodies’ reserves. The human body produces about 80 percent of its needed amino acids in the liver. The other 20 percent are obtained from the food intake. Our needed twenty-five amino acids are misleadingly classified as:
  • essential or
  • nonessential.
These terms just refer to how we process our necessary amino acids. The nine essential amino acids we require mean our bodies cannot combine them so they must be obtained by dietary intake. Confusingly the other sixteen nonessential means they are combined by our bodies from ingested amino acids.

There are two different groups of amino acid supplying food:
  • Complete protein: containing a variety of essential amino acids, and
  • Incomplete protein: foods without as many amino acids.
People inaccurately think protein has to come only meat and fish. However, because of problems with antibiotics, heavy metals, and other chemicals, these foods should be eaten in moderation. A better strategy, mutual supplementation, combines partial protein foods to make complementary protein supplying adequate amounts of all essential amino acids. Such as when beans and rice are combined a complete protein is formed which is a high quality substitute to meat/fish. Combining beans with one of the following can assemble a complete protein:
  • corn,
  • brown rice,
  • nuts,
  • seeds, or
  • wheat.
Or combine brown rice with any of:
  • beans
  • nuts
  • seeds or
  • wheat.
A variety of grains, nuts, seeds, and mixed vegetables will make a complete protein. Don’t forget nut butters with bread. In addition, fermentation yields more beta-glucan, glutathione, b-vitamins, and other nutrients than average products. Fermented soy products such as miso, tempeh, and tofu are widely available. Unsweetened milk products such as yogurt and kefir are the only animal derived complete protein recommended for daily use. Cultured from curdled milk, these contain friendly bacteria, vitamins A and D, plus B-complex vitamins, and prevent health disorder such as candidasis.

Given the fact we eat a lot of meat and dairy products, the American diet usually contains too much protein. Nevertheless 50 grams of protein should be consumed per day so be sure to eat various combinations of protein rich foods. In closing, for a balanced healthy diet try different sources of protein available.

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