Types of Protein: Why is Protein Important? Article written by the Spencer Brothers on /2021. This post contains affiliate links, you can find out more in the disclaimer at the bottom of the blog.
What is Protein?
Proteins are one of the three forms of macronutrients that are necessary for complete nutrition. Proteins are made up of a combination of twenty types of amino acids that produce different types of proteins depending on their structure. Proteins have several sources, but the mains sources are meat, dairy, nuts, beans, and certain types of fruits and vegetables. Eating Protein is absolutely crucial for maintainign our bodies (more on this in the Why is Protein Important section). On top of that, the types of protein we are eating is also very important. Let’s dive into that a bit more.
Types of Protein
Without getting too scientific, proteins can be found commonly in lots of different foods. We will break down the most common sources of protein in meats, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.
Protein in Meat
Chicken, Fish/Seafood, Beef, and Pork are all solid source for animal protein. One big thing to consider when selecting your meat is the fat content. Meats that are high in fat, especially saturated fats, can really bog down your body, instead of providing an energy boost. For more information about sourcing and minful meat eating, check out The Ethical Meat Handbook.
Protein in Dairy
Milk, Cheese, Yogurt, and Sour Cream are the main sources of protein in dairy. Within dairy, there are actually two types of popular protein: Whey and Casein. Long story short, both of these proteins have their pros and cons, but ultimately they work best when consumed together (as they are in most dairy products). Similarly to meat, dairy can be particularly high in saturated fat. So, one must be careful with the amount of dairy consumed regularly.
Protein in Plants
Soy, Nuts (Especially Pistachios and Almonds), Beans, Lentils, and similar foods are great sources of both protein and carbohydrates. A lot of vegetables contain no or a minimal amount of protein, but there are a few that can provide quite a bit of protein. Peas, Asparagus, Broccoli, and Avocado are a few of the veggies that provide substantial amounts of protein. As a bonus, if you are looking for something sweet, Guava and Jackfruit both contain some protein.
If you are interested in learning more about eating protein through plants, check out the book The Plant-Based High-Protein Diet Cookbook.
Sourcing Your Protein
It is important when selecting your protein, that they are well sourced. Not all meat and dairt is equal. A lot of these products are heavily influenced by chemicals and processing. If sourced well, protein can provide good, clean energy and providing solid building blocks for your body.
Why is Protein Important?
Our bodies need a certain amount of protein to maintain itself. We use the proteins in the food we eat to repair, maintain, and build up several organs and body parts. The main one we think of is muscles and ligaments, but protein is also crucial for the health of hair, nails, teeth, skin, bones, and our brains.
On top of the direct benefits to our physical body’s functions, protein is also helpful because it can help you feel full for longer than other foods that are quickly digested. This will also lead to helping control and balance blood sugar levels.
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