Protein is a nutrient needed by your body for growth, cell repair and to function properly. Protein is the essential component in muscles, hair, nails, skin, organs, hormones, cell structures (make and repair) and antibodies! Are you paying attention now! Anytime your body is growing or repairing itself, protein is the key! Listen carefully- this nutrient helps clot blood, fight infection, build and repair muscles, maintains body fluid balance and carry fats, minerals, vitamins and oxygen around the body. It is not only for body builders and professional athletes! It is important for your health.
I think it is important for you to know just a few basics so you will understand then apply your new found knowledge for a healthy body.
-Proteins are made of building blocks called Amino Acids. (Like Lego or the mega blocks my grandson Lincoln plays with. To build a tower or animal figures, there is a pattern to follow with the blocks. This is exactly the same process in building specific proteins.
-These building blocks (mega blocks) are called amino acids. There are 20 different ones. They link together in different combinations to make new proteins- such as muscle or other compounds like hormones. There are at least 10,000 different proteins to make and maintain you. AMAZING!! Of the 20 amino acids, 11 are labeled non-essential- the body can make these from scratch. The other 9, we call essential for we must get them from the foods we eat. I have provided a link to an easy list of all amino acids.
The essential AA are- histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. All must come from our food.
Where is protein found in food? We can get protein from animal and plant sources. The nutritional value is based on the quantity if essential (found in food) amino acids.
1. animal products- beef, fish, chicken products, dairy, pork, lamb etc.- contain ALL essential aa so are called “complete Protein” HBV/ ideal.
including B vitamins (e.g., niacin(B3), vitamin B12, vitamin B6, riboflavin(B2), selenium, choline, phosphorus, zinc, copper, vitamin D, and vitamin E). Heme iron, zinc; EGG- Choline
2. plant products- beans, lentils, nuts, whole grains (last week)- usually lack 1 AA so are incomplete. We need to have a combination of incomplete depending on which AA is lacking to become complete. Need a variety- mix and match!
Include non heme iron,
Soy, quinoa, amaranth (last week) are plant sources that have all essential AA= complete (LIKE animal sources)
Complete protein- contain all 9 essential aa (body cannot make)- mostly animal products, soy products, quinoa and amaranth.
Incomplete protein- contain some but not all of the 9 essential AA- legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, some vegetable. Fruits no protein and vegetables contain little protein compared to other plant-based foods. The higher protein (yet incomplete) includes broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, artichoke and corn. REMEMBER- need variety and combination of plant based to make complete protein.
Here are some examples of combining-PB on 100% whole wheat bread, Bean taco or tostada, see link.
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED DAILY?
Protein is found in a great number of foods so it is not hard to meet your protein intake goal. But we must be smart in choosing healthy protein sources. Here are two ways to figure your protein needs.
Very basic- 7 grams protein for every 20 pounds of body weight. Ex 200 lbs.= 7 x 10= 70 grams
Specific- The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements: 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight – wt. in lbs./2.2= kg then take that x .8= grams
Ex 200 lbs./2.2=91 x .8= 72.8 grams protein
Table of RDI for protein – for all ages
None of these take into account higher levels of activity or health issues (tissue repair, illness, pregnant or nursing mothers, older adults – needs are higher) (kidney disease- needs decrease) For an exact figure for you- consult a RD.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER
Grams are not ounces or servings.
On the AVERAGE: 1 0z beef, chicken, pork, fish, med-large egg= 7 grams protein.
8 oz soy milk= 7 grams, ½ cup, dried beans, lentils= 7-9 grams
2 tbsp pb= 7 grams, ¼ cup nuts= 4-6 grams
8 oz milk= 8 grams, 6 oz fat free yogurt= 5 grams, 5 oz Greek yogurt= 12-18 grams
1 oz cheese= 7 grams, ½ c cottage cheese= 14 grams
l slice bread= 3 grams,
1/3 c quinoa= 6 grams
1 cup raw or ½ c cooked vegetable= 2 grams
Fruit Fresh, canned or juice= 0 grams
1 gram of protein is 4 kcal. You want 20-30% of your daily calories from protein. Choose leaner meats and lower fat dairy and of course 100% whole wheat/grains.
KIDNEY DISEASE: protein can be tricky for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). When we eat protein, protein waste products are created. Healthy kidneys have millions of nephrons that filter this waste. It’s then removed from the body in the urine. Unhealthy kidneys cannot remove protein waste and it starts to build up in the blood. Dietary protein intake for patients with CKD is based on the stage of kidney disease, nutrition status and body size. Counseling sessions with a registered dietitian are recommended for planning and monitoring a low- or high-protein diet. To learn more on staging or anything related to kidney disease please visit this link. DaVita Kidney Care.