High Quality Protein

by Lauren on February 10, 2012

TGIF.

I have about one more hour of work to do, and than I’m outta here! My hubby and I are going to take off at 4pm and do some shopping in the next district over called Palermo Soho. I’m pumped. I’m SO sick of the clothes I brought, and because of my lack of income I haven’t bought anything yet. That’s about to change. The style here is casual, but chic and very South American with bright colored earrings & shoes and great leather bags.

Before heading out, in my last post I left you with a question: what are the top 3 highest quality protein sources.

Answer:

1. Eggs (also a superfood!)
2. Fish
3. Beef (eat in moderation)

Without getting too deep into organic chemistry, the reason they are so good for you is that they contain all 8 essential amino acids. There are 22 amino acids that make up protein, and our bodies can produce all of them except for the 8 essentials, so it’s really important that you get them from your diet.

Protein sources that include all 8 mean they are really good quality and you don’t need to consume as much to experience the health benefits. What are some of these health benefits?

Protein…

-Helps produce structures in the body such as, muscle (this is why eating protein after a workout will help re-build your muscles)
-Transports nutrients and hormones throughout our bloodstream
-Is needed for proper digestion (the breakdown of carbs, fats & proteins)
-Provides us with energy that lasts
-Is important for a healthy immune system: protein helps produce immune cells & antibodies
-Acts as a buffer to keep the pH levels in our body normal (when our bodies become too acidic it can lead to unpleasant side effects* such as: weight gain, bladder & kidney issues, hormone concerns, premature aging, osteoporosis, joint pain, low energy, chronic fatigue, slow digestion & elimination. Highly acidic foods include red meat, dairy, processed sugar & carbs, alcohol, and coffee. High alkaline foods include beans, whole grains and most fruits & vegetables).

*These side effects are usually experienced in people who’s diets are very high in the above foods over long periods of time.

The list included a total of 12 top quality protein foods. Here’s the rest of the list:

4. Quinoa (keen-wah)
5. Sunflower Seeds
6. Dairy
7. Oats
8. Rice
9. Peanuts
10. Soy
11. Wheat
12. Corn

These are lower on the list because some of them are missing an essential amino acid or are low in one or two of them. This is why combining these food groups (ex. grains & legumes) will create a complete, high quality protein source.

For all of you health geeks out there, here’s a list of the 8 essential amino acids:

1. Isoleucine
2. Leucine
3. Lysine
4. Methionine
5. Phenylalanine
6. Threonine
7. Tryptophan
8. Valine

Ok, my brain hurts. That’s enough thinking for a Friday afternoon. Enjoy your weekend!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Nikki Stallaert February 11, 2012 at 8:30 am

Great list!!!!! Nice and simple!!
Thanks for sharing and keeping us healthy.

xoxo
N.

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Carole February 13, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Great info Lauren, thanks for sharing. Would you ever suggest amino acid supplements?

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Lauren February 14, 2012 at 8:59 am

Great question Carole. When it comes to supplements of any kind; I usually don’t recommend them unless you have a deficiency in a specific vitamin or mineral, and require supplementation. When it comes to protein; as long as you’re eating an adequate number of calories from a variety of protein-rich foods (like on my high-quality protein list); I would not suggest amino acid supplements. The required amount of daily protein intake really depends on the person (male or female, weight, activity level, etc), but the average male needs about 56g/day and the average woman about 46g/day. Hope that helps!

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