Protein is the most important building material of our body. It can be found in every cell, every tissue, and every internal organ. What is more, a certain type of protein plays a role of ferment and hormone in the living body.
Aside from tissue-building function, protein is also responsible for energy supply. In cases of protein surplus, our liver transforms it into fats that are being stored in our organisms.
Our body has 22 amino acids: 13 of which can be synthesized by our bodies from building material, and another 9 can be obtained with food only. During digestion process proteins disintegrate into amino acids that are being transferred into various body parts to function. Proteins (as amino acids) are a part of blood, hormone system, thyroid gland; they influence body development and regulate water and pH balances.
What foods are high in protein?
Approximate amount per 100 grams:
- Cooking gelatin – 87.2 g
- Ground mustard – 37.1 g
- Soy – 34.9 g
- Pumpkin seeds – 30.2 g
- Sturgeon caviar – 28.9 g
- Dry milk – 28.5 g
- Peanut – 26.3 g
- Cocoa powder – 24.3 g
- Salami – 24 g
- Cheese – 23.2 g
- Shelled pea – 23 g
- Tuna – 22.7
- Haricot – 22 g
- Curd – 22 g
- Siberian salmon – 22 g
- Turkey – 21.6 g
- Chicken hock – 23.3 g
- Rabbit meat – 21.2 g
- Hunchback salmon – 21 g
- Prawns – 21.9 g
- Hen meat – 20.8 g
- Salmon – 20.8 g
- Sunflower seed – 20.7 g
- Saury – 20.4 g
- Mutton – 20 g
- Veal – 19.7 g
- Halibut – 18.9 g
- Beef – 18.9 g
- Pig liver – 18.8 g
- Mutton liver – 18.7 g
- Chicken meat – 18.7 g
- Almond – 18.6 g
- Squid – 18 g
- Mackerel – 18 g
- Low-fat curd – 18 g
- Sheep cheese – 17.9 g
- Herring – 17.7 g
- Beef liver – 17.4 g
- Pig kidneys – 16.4 g
- Hazelnut – 16.1 g
- Alaska Pollack – 15,9 g
- Heart – 15 g
- Walnut – 13.8 g
- Buckwheat – 12.6 g
- Backed sausage – 12.1 g
- Millet – 12 g
- Porridge – 11.9 g
- Fat pork – 11.4 g
- White bread – 7.7 g
- Pastry – 7.6 g
- Rice – 7 g
- Rye bread – 4.7 g
- Milk – 2.8 g
How many proteins a day do we need?
For an adult – 0.4 g per 1 pound. This index can be found anywhere in tables designed to calculate ideal weight. But technically, body weight is not taken into account because amino acids are created for cellular mass, not for fats. According to dietitians, high protein foods should amount to 15% from the daily ration. Though, this number can vary depending on a person’s physical activity and health.
Boost your protein intake:
- When you feel ill, especially after surgery and during healing.
- When you do some work that requires intense physical activity.
- During the cold season, when your body spends its energy to warm itself
- During intense body development and growth.
- During sports events (if you’re taking part) and when you prepare for it.
Lower your protein intake:
- During warm seasons. It is because of the chemical processes that undergo in your body due to the heat exposure.
- If you are in years, when the renewal of the body slows down and requires less protein.
- If you have protein digestibility problems, for example, gout.
When people consume carbos digestion process begins right in the mouth. But the process differs when it comes to protein. The process starts only in the stomach with the help of hydrochloric acid. But since protein molecules are big they are difficult to digest. To help this process you’d better eat the products that contain protein in its easiest form. For example, the white of an egg and dairy products. According to the theory of separate eating, protein food is good to go with leaf veggies. But modern dietitians claim that protein will digest better when there are fats and carbo nearby, that produce energy. Since high protein food is being kept in the body longer than carbo foods you will feel satiety for a longer period of time.
Animal protein vs plant protein
As it has been mentioned above, there are 2 major groups of proteins: those that are the source of replaceable and irreplaceable amino acids. There are 9 irreplaceable amino acids: threonine, methionine, tryptophan, lysine, leucine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, and valine. These amino acids are super important for our bodies and can be found in food only. Modern dietetics has terms complete and incomplete proteins. Food that contains all 9 irreplaceable amino acids is called complete protein. Food that contains only some of those amino acids is called incomplete protein.
Among the “complete protein” products one can find meat, dairy, seafood, and soy. Eggs take the first place in this list – according to medical criteria they represent the balance of amino acids. Incomplete proteins can be found in nuts, grains, bread, veggies, beans, and some fruits. When you combine complete protein with an incomplete in your daily ration you can assure complete protein digestion. And for that you can add a little amount of animal protein to your ration.
Soy – 34.9% Nuts – 10-25% Buckwheat 12.6% Asparagus, spinach – 2-3% Avocado – 2%
Some people exclude animal products from their ration completely. Even famous people, such as Richard Gere, Brooke Shields, Pamela Anderson, and others. But to ensure that your organism is not lacking anything you should find biologically valuable replacement for fish and meat. It is easier for those who eat curd and eggs and drinks milk. Those who completely refuse eating animal proteins should find other ways to avoid damage to the organism. Kids’ organisms are of special concern – if their growing bodies don’t have enough amino acids they may stop growing and developing. According to some researchers in the field of plant protein digestion, it has become known that certain plant protein combinations can supply our bodies with a full number of amino acids. These combinations are mushrooms-cereals, mushrooms-nuts, beans-cereals, beans-nuts, and also various types of beans in one food intake.
But it is only a theory and it takes time to be completely proved or disproved. Among veggies with protein the champion is soy. 100 g of soy contains more than 30% of complete protein. Japanese soup “miso”, soy meat, and soy sauce are not all the delicacies that are being prepared from this product. Mushrooms, lentil, haricot, and peas contain 28-25% of incomplete protein. Avocado can be compared to cow milk – it contains about 14% of protein. Besides, this fruit has polyunsaturated fatty acids Omega-6 and dietary fibers. Nuts, buckwheat, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, asparagus and spinach close this incomplete list of products with plant protein.
Signs of protein deficiency:
- Weakness, loss of energy. Loss of working efficiency.
- Lowered libido.
- Weak immune system.
- Liver, circulatory system, intestines and pancreas dysfunction.
- Muscle atrophy, their growth and development slow down.
Signs of protein excess:
- Fragile bones (body acidulation that washes calcium away).
- Water misbalance (edema, inassimilable vitamins).
- Excess weight (spare amounts of protein are being transformed into fats).
- Intestine cancer.
What influences the amount of protein in our bodies?
- Food variety and amount: the organism is incapable of digesting irreplaceable amino acids on its own.
- Age: the amount of protein in kids’ bodies is 2 times more than an adult needs. All the metabolic processes of old people slow down and the necessity in so many proteins disappears.
- Physical activity: to be fit and able to move around sportsmen and those who do a lot of hard physical work require 2 times more protein than usual because all the metabolic processes go faster.
Proteins for health and beauty
Those who wish to be fit and beautiful, dietitians recommend sticking to the eating plan before and after exercises.
- To develop muscular mass and athletic figure eat protein food 1 hour before exercise. For example, half a plate of curd or other cultured milk product, chicken breast or turkey with rice, fish with salad, or omelet with porridge.
- You’re allowed to eat in 20 minutes after exercise to develop muscle mass – protein or carbo foods, not fats.
- If you want to be fit without muscular development, eat protein foods in 2 hours after exercise. Don’t eat proteins 5 hours before exercising.
- To maintain metabolism, eat proteins in the afternoon. They fill you with satiety and you won’t overeat right before bed.
- Clean skin, beautiful hair, and strong nails are the result of a proper amount of irreplaceable amino acids which function together with vitamins and microelements in the ration.