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Protein: The Most Vital Nutrient

by Charles Weller February 21, 2015

Protein: The Most Vital Nutrient

No matter what you do in life, how active your body and mind may be, you need protein. As the body’s fundamental building blocks and requisite for recovery, protein takes on many roles in your everyday life. This macronutrient, made up of 20 amino acids, is so vital that your body actually produces some protein in various forms. The other forms however – called essential amino acids –are not physically produced and must be “fed” to your body. Whether through animals, plants, or man-made supplements, how you choose to supply your body should be a smart choice that you make for yourself based on what your needs are.

Why do you need it?

The proteins that your body produces and those that come from outside sources combine to ensure proper maintenance of many functions in the body and mind. They are present in the cell membranes of all the living cells of your body, and become especially crucial as your body develops new cells and repairs itself. The ability to perform in both normal daily and high performance activities is dependent on the strength and health of your muscles, bones, and blood. You need protein to build and strengthen your muscle tissue, especially during the recovery phases of your workouts. The bones in the body are also depending on a healthy supply of protein, used in the rubbery, soft structure inside the bones, bone marrow. And blood, which runs throughout your entire body, needs healthy protein to supply the cells with oxygen to help them grow and live, and to help you breathe! For more than just looks, your body needs a healthy layer of protection for those muscles, bones, and blood. Vibrant, glowing skin, strong hair, and hard nails aren’t just qualities of beauty, but indicate healthy skin tissue with the ability to regenerate and repair itself as it helps protect the inside of your body.

How much is enough?

Depending on your activity levels and fitness goals, the amount of protein required by the body varies. For people that are more active, athletes, and pregnant women, the body requires larger amounts of protein. In general, it is recommended that 10-35% of daily calories come from protein as in the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) provided in the United States. In grams, that translates to about 46 grams of protein for a healthy adult female and 52 grams for an adult male. That is however, a very general guideline, as different studies and research show that more active individuals and high performing athletes excel as this amount is increased at different levels. Desired intake varies between .6 – 1 gram or protein per pound of bodyweight, depending on the specific activity and whether the goal is to add lean muscle, increase repair and recovery time, or both.

Where can you get it?

There are many different sources of protein, classified as complete or incomplete. A complete source of protein provides all of the essential amino acids that we need while an incomplete source lacks one or more. The complete sources of protein tend to be more animal-based, and unless they are very lean sources such as fish, they can be high in calories and saturated fats. Such sources are meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. Incomplete protein sources, which tend to be lower in calories and saturated fats, can be combined throughout the day in a well-balanced diet to provide your body with the required amounts. These tend to be plant-based such as beans, rice, nuts, seeds, grains, and some vegetables and fruit. Protein supplements can also be used to provide the required amounts of protein. Different types are based on whey, soy, plant, and protein isolates to aid the body.

Where should you get it?

In addition to providing fewer calories and saturated fat than animal based proteins, a well balanced diet with plant sources, provides far more vitamins and minerals that your body needs in addition to protein. An array of the “incomplete” protein sources can be used to supply the same amino acids as a complete source. Aiding your diet with a plant-based protein supplement can not only help in eliminating some of the undesirables that come in animal based sources, such as calories and saturated fats, but ensure you get enough vitamins and nutrients that you don’t get in those sources. There are numerous popular plant-based protein supplements on the market today and typically provide 10 grams up to approximately 17 grams of protein per serving. Checkout the comparison to see how GBN’s Superfood Protein can be the right choice for you – Click Here »


References:

1. http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/protein.html
2. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-much-protein-do-you-need-in-your-diet.html
3. Source for Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) reference and RDAs: Institute of Medicine (IOM) Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids.

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Charles Weller
Charles Weller

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