What Is Protein?

What Is Protein?

What Is Protein?

Muscle, bone, skin, hair, and practically every other body part or tissue can be found to contain protein. It contributes to the production of hemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood, and enzymes, which drive numerous chemical reactions. At least 10,000 different proteins make you what you are and keep you that way.

Amino acid building blocks are used to create protein. Our bodies produce amino acids in two different ways because we cannot store them: either from scratch or by altering existing ones. The nine amino acids known as the essential amino acids - histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine - must be obtained from food.

How Much Protein Do I Need?

Adults should consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

  • That equates to about 50 grams of protein daily for a 140-pound person.
  • That equates to about 70 grams of protein daily for a 200-pound person.

Bottom Line.

Protein is a key part of any diet. For every 20 pounds of body weight, the average person requires 7 grams of protein per day. Multiple foods contain protein, so many people can easily achieve this goal. But not every protein "package" is the same. Foods contain much more than just protein, so it's important to consider the other ingredients as well.

Building off this general guidance, here are some additional details and tips for shaping your diet with the best protein choices:

Make sure to change your protein sources if the majority of your intake comes from plants to ensure that no "essential" protein components are missed. The good news is that there are many options to mix and match within the plant kingdom. Here are a few illustrations from each category:

  • Legumes: lentils, beans (adzuki, black, fava, chickpeas/garbanzo, kidney, lima, mung, pinto etc.), peas (green, snow, snap, split, etc.), edamame/soybeans (and products made from soy: tofu, tempeh, etc.), peanuts.
  • Nuts and Seeds: almonds, pistachios, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, squash and pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds.
  • Whole Grains: kamut, teff, wheat, quinoa, rice, wild rice, millet, oats, buckwheat,
  • Other: While many fruits and vegetables do contain some protein, the amounts are typically lower than in other plant-based foods. Corn, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and artichokes are a few examples with higher protein content.

Considering the protein package is particularly important when it comes to animal-based foods:

  • Generally, poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and a variety of seafood (fish, crustaceans, mollusks) are your best bet. Eggs can be a good choice, too.

If you like dairy products, it's best to only consume them every once in a while (think closer to 1-2 servings a day; and incorporating yogurt is probably a better choice than getting all your servings from milk or cheese).

  • Red meat - which includes unprocessed beef, pork, lamb, veal, mutton, and goat meat should be consumed on a more limited basis.

If you enjoy red meat, think about eating it occasionally or in moderation.

Avoid processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and cold cuts. Processed meats also include items like turkey bacon, chicken sausage, and deli-sliced chicken and ham, despite the fact that these products are frequently made from red meats.

Source: www.hsph.harvard.edu

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