Some facts about proteins

You probably already know that you need to eat protein, but what are they? Many foods contain protein, but the best sources of protein are beef, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, cereals and legumes, such as red beans. Proteins make up the structure of body tissues and allow them to be maintained, replenished and made to grow. Muscles, organs and the immune system are mostly made of proteins.

The body uses proteins to make a multitude of specialized protein molecules that perform specific functions. For example, the body uses proteins to make hemoglobin , the red blood cell component that transports oxygen to all body tissues.

Other proteins are used to build heart muscle . What is that? The heart! In fact, regardless of whether you are running or walking, proteins will always be playing an important role, such as moving your legs, carrying oxygen throughout your body and protecting you from disease.


When you eat foods that contain protein, the gastric juices you have in your stomach and intestine get to work. They break down food proteins into their basic components, called amino acids. Later, amino acids are reused to make the proteins your body needs to shape and maintain muscles, bones, blood and various organs of the body.

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Of those 22 amino acids, your body can make 13 without even thinking about it. Your body can not make any of the other nine amino acids, but you can get it from the diet by eating protein-rich foods. They are called essential amino acids because it is essential to obtain them through diet.

Different types of proteins

Animal proteins, such as meat and of milk, are known as "complete proteins" because they contain the nine essential amino acids. Most plant-derived proteins are considered incomplete because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids. This may worry those people who do not eat meat or dairy products. But people who follow a strict vegetarian diet can get the nine essential amino acids by eating a wide variety of protein foods.

For example, not all essential amino acids can be obtained from peanuts alone, but if you smear a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, you will be well served, since you will get the nine essential amino acids. Similarly, red beans do not provide the nine essential amino acids, but if you combine them with rice, you will also be served. The good news is that you do not have to eat all the essential amino acids at each meal. As long as you eat a variety of protein foods throughout the day, your body will take whatever you need from each food.

How much is enough?

To know your protein requirements, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.5, or divide by 2. For example, a child weighing 70 pounds should eat about 35 grams of protein per day. If you only know your weight in kilograms, think that every day you need to ingest about 1 gram of protein per kilo of weight.

You can read food labels to know how many grams of protein a serving contains. But, if you follow a balanced diet, you do not have to notice so much. In developed countries, it is fairly easy to eat enough protein. Here's an example of how a child can eat about 30 grams of protein in one day: 2 tablespoons (15 milliliters) of peanut butter (7 grams of protein)

1 cup (240 milliliters) semi-skimmed milk (8 grams of protein) 2 servings of the size of a cheddar cheese domino (30 grams) (7 grams of protein) 90 grams of chicken breast (10.5 grams of protein) 1/2 cup broccoli (2 grams of protein)

By Of course, now that you're a protein expert, you can choose your favorite combination of protein-rich foods.