October 23, 2020 4 min read
Have you ever wondered what your body is made of? The human body is made up of millions upon millions of tiny, microscopic cells. One major component of these cells is protein.
Proteins are like the building blocks of our bodies. Without them, we would waste away. Literally. They are an indispensable part of our diet and here's why.
Proteins are made of smaller units known as amino acids which link together to form long chains. There are twenty different types of amino acids that the body can arrange in different ways to make protein.
Their sequence determines each protein's unique structure and function. Here are some different functions proteins carry out.What Proteins Do
Out of the twenty amino acids, your body can make eleven of them. These are called non-essential amino acids. The other nine amino acids that can't be synthesized by the body are called essential amino acids and they have to be included in your diet for your body to use them. Here are the nine essential amino acids.
Dietary proteins can be divided into two main categories, based on whether or not they have all essential amino acids.
Your diet should include different types of proteins so you can get all the amino acids you need. Ok, so where do we get proteins?
Sources of Proteins
You can get proteins from both animal and plant sources. There's one major difference though. Animal products like lean meats, eggs, fish, seafood, and dairy products have all essential amino acids and so are complete proteins.
Plants on the other hand lack at least one essential amino acid. Legumes, whole grains, and nuts are all plant sources of proteins but they're not complete. A few plant exceptions which have all essential amino acids include soy products, amaranth seeds, hemp seeds, and quinoa.
The easiest way to get all the essential amino acids is to eat animal protein. But let's face it: soy, amaranth, hemp, and quinoa are not exactly easily available. But what about vegans? When it comes to protein, vegans have to be creative. Since different plant proteins have different amino acids, you can combine two or more to get all the essential amino acids.
For example, you can eat a combination of beans and wholegrain rice, or peanut butter and wholegrain bread. That way, you get all the amino acids you need. Some vegan protein supplements like the Sunwarrior Organic Blend Protein Berry Powder 750g also combine two different plant-based proteins and include complete ones like hemp seed and quinoa.
Athletes and bodybuilders usually need extra protein to build muscle mass and encourage fat burning. Even just for regular workouts, protein intake is important. This is because protein gets degraded and used up during exercise, and some cells or tissues could get damaged as well.
After a vigorous workout, take a high-quality protein like milk and some carbohydrate immediately after a workout to replenish the used up protein in the body and encourage the building up of muscle cells.
Alternatively, you could make a protein shake with your favorite protein powder. Amazonia Paleo Protein Vanilla & Lucuma Powder 1kg makes a great power smoothie after vigorous exercise. It can also be simply mixed in water, coconut water, or non-dairy milk.
Diets high in protein have been found to help with weight loss by controlling blood sugar and increasing feelings of satiety. Protein makes you feel full for longer, which of course means that you won't eat too much in one meal.
You also won't feel hungry soon after eating and crave for a snack. If you're intent on losing weight, you don't have to starve yourself.
Just include some form of protein in each meal. Supplement powders like Eden Healthfoods Super Lean Thermogenic Protein Powder 1kg also promote weight loss by combining appetite-suppressing herbs with whole-grain protein.
It discourages excessive eating but keeps you feeling full so you don't feel weak and hungry. It also tastes great because weight loss doesn't have to be all about feeling starved and eating tasteless food.
How Much Protein?
The amount of protein you require depends on age, sex, and daily physical activity. Also, proteins are best consumed in small quantities at different intervals during the day, rather than one big helping all at once. On average, active men and teenage boys need a total of seven ounces spread out in three servings every day.
Active women, men who aren't very active and teens require a total of 6 ounces that can be eaten in two servings in a day. Young children, non-active women, and older people can do with a total of five ounces in two daily servings.
Can You Eat Too Much Protein?
High protein diets are popular among diet enthusiasts but health professionals caution against going over the recommended amount. Excessive proteins can tire out the liver and the kidney and can lead to excessive excretion of calcium from the body, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Proteins make up a big part of our body and since they don't get stored like carbs, we need to eat them consistently. Include them in your diet, either in wholefood or in supplement form.
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