The Importance of Protein in Your Diet

단백질보충제 Proteins are the shapeshifting workhorses of the body, doing everything from fighting disease to digesting food.1

단백질보충제

The best sources of complete protein come from animal foods like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and quinoa.2

Those choosing to go vegetarian or vegan must carefully plan their protein intake to ensure they’re getting the complementary amino acids necessary for health.

Meat

Protein is a macronutrient needed to build muscle, transport nutrients and create infection-fighting antibodies. It’s also essential for brain function and a healthy heart.

But not all protein is created equal. For a food to be considered a complete protein, it must contain all nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts. Animal foods like meat and dairy deliver complete proteins because they have amino acid profiles that mimic human skeletal muscles. Plant-based proteins are generally considered incomplete because they fall short of meeting this requirement. But a few exceptions to this rule include quinoa, amaranth, chia and hemp.

If you’re trying to cut back on meat or going vegetarian, a little menu planning can ensure that you get enough complete protein to meet your body’s needs단백질보충제 . Check out these eight vegetarian-friendly sources of complete protein to add to your meals:

Eggs

Eggs are a protein-packed food, providing 6.3 g of high-quality protein per serving. They contain all nine essential amino acids as well as vitamins, minerals, and choline.

One of the nutrient properties of eggs is that they are an excellent source of choline, which can play a role in brain health. The choline in eggs can also aid in breaking down homocysteine, an amino acid that is linked to increased heart disease risk.

Eggs are a versatile and convenient protein source. When they’re mixed with other sources of complete protein, such as beans, grains, nuts and seeds, eggs can help provide adequate amounts of all the amino acids that humans need to stay healthy. This is important because consuming insufficient protein can lead to muscle loss and decreased strength, among other negative side effects. However, more is not always better when it comes to protein and a general rule of thumb is quality over quantity.

Dairy

Proteins are the shapeshifting workhorses of the human body. They do everything from fending off disease as antibodies3 to digesting food as enzymes. But they only do their jobs when they have all the amino acids they need, and it’s up to us to make sure that we’re getting complete proteins every day.

Meat, eggs, and dairy foods like yogurt are complete proteins. They also provide the essential vitamins and minerals we need, including calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, and potassium.

Most plant-based proteins, however, are incomplete proteins because they lack the nine essential amino acids. But if you combine plant-based foods in the same meal (like whole grain bread with beans or quinoa), you can create complete proteins. For instance, peanut butter contains three of the eight essential amino acids but when eaten with a serving of milk or yogurt it becomes a complete protein.

Legumes

Beans, peas and lentils are complete proteins, making them a great choice for plant-based eaters. They’re also low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fibre, which helps bind toxins and reduce the absorption of cholesterol in your digestive tract.

Like grains, legumes have the ability to fix their own nitrogen, meaning they don’t require synthetic fertilizers that take up fossil fuel energy to produce. Plus, they’re drought resistant, so they need less water pound for pound than other plants.

Besides protein, beans and peas contain zinc, folate, iron, potassium and B vitamins. They’re also rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, which helps slow the absorption of sugar, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.

Nuts

Nuts are protein-rich foods and also contain fat-soluble vitamins (ascorbic acid, vitamin B1, B2, B3, and E), antioxidants and phenolic compounds, and the plant hormone oleoylethanolamide, which suppresses appetite. In addition, they are a source of the amino acid arginine, which is converted to nitric oxide in the body and has vascular protective properties.

Though they are not considered complete proteins because they don’t have the essential amino acids found in animal proteins, studies suggest that regular nut consumption may reduce cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure and visceral adiposity. Nut consumption has also been shown to positively influence circulating levels of inflammatory biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein and interleukin-6.

When combined with other proteins, such as whole grains, legumes, and seeds, nuts can be a great source of complete protein. But, as always, it’s best to meet your protein needs from a variety of sources and not rely on just one or two foods.

Seeds

The seed of a plant is the fertilized, mature ovule containing an embryo or miniature undeveloped plant and food reserves enclosed in a protective shell. It contains all the information needed to give rise to a new, full-grown plant provided it is given the right conditions.

Seeds vary in size from the massive coconut palm to the tiny seeds of epiphytic orchids. They also vary in their method of dispersal, germination requirements and photo response.

Fortunately, many seeds we eat are complete proteins, including legumes, nuts, whole grains and seeds (poppy, flax, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin). A 3-ounce serving of tempeh provides 11 grams of protein, as does a cup of cooked amaranth or quinoa. A tablespoon of hulled hemp seeds offers 10 grams. A cup of edamame is another good source of complete protein. A variety of other seeds—including those of buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and sorghum—can also provide protein.