Last post we talked about how important Protein is for the human body. This post continues with a look at how different sources of Protein differ and how they help our bodies stay healthy.
Foods provide about 20 different amino acids, of which more than half are considered to be “nonessential.” In other words, the body can make them for itself. However, nine other amino acids are considered “essential,” meaning the body is unable to make them on its own. And unlike the carbohydrates and fats we consume, amino acids are not stored in the body. Therefore, the body must rely on a constant and steady supply from the protein-rich foods we eat every day.
So what are the best sources of dietary protein? And is there a difference between animal and vegetable sources? Well, it’s true that not all dietary protein is created equal. It really is the protein quality of one’s diet that, in large part, determines how well a child will grow and develop and how well an adult will maintain his or her health. Put simply, high-quality proteins provide enough of all the essential amino acids needed to support the body’s work, and lower-quality proteins don’t. Two key factors that influence protein quality are the protein’s digestibility and its amino acid composition. Protein digestibility is a measure of the amount of amino acids absorbed from a given protein intake, and amino acid composition refers to the simultaneous availability of all the needed amino acids from a food we choose to eat. In general, animal-sourced proteins (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy) are considered high-quality proteins, as is soy, a vegetable-sourced protein. However, other vegetable proteins tend to be of much lower quality and are often referred to as “incomplete” proteins because they do not provide all the essential amino acids the body needs. Incomplete proteins can come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.
In the next post we will continue to explore Protein and how it impacts our body! Stay well!
This information comes from a Health Sciences Bulletin from Shaklee Corporation.