We are always being told that having a balanced diet is one of the keys to healthy living. Part of having a balanced diet is to have the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fats. It is particularly important that we consume the right amounts of protein as protein is vital for many bodily functions. Protein can be found in foods such as meats such as chicken, beef, lamb and fish, nuts, legumes, dairy products, soy products and wheat.
Why Is Protein Important?
Proteins are a long chain of amino acids that are linked together. Each of these chains of protein has a specific function in our bodies. Without adequate protein intake much of our body would not function correctly. Basically protein is responsible for all growth, maintenance and repair of cells within the body. It is a major component of muscles, organs and other bodily tissue. It is important in the process of digestion, metabolism and the transportation of oxygen, vitamins and nutrients around the body in the blood. Protein chains also play a major role in the production of antibodies that are used to fight disease and foreign bodies. Protein is also responsible for shiny hair, strong nails, healthy skins and strong bones.
The Best Sources of Protein
Our body is capable of producing 12 of the amino acids that are essential in the creation of protein in our bodies. The other 8 essential amino acids have to be gained by eating a varied diet. These 20 amino acids link together to create different type of protein that is used throughout the body. Some foods that are high in amino acids and protein chains need to be consumed to help the body maintain a healthy level of protein. The very best source of protein is the egg. Eggs contain the highest amount of essential amino acids (including the 8 that can’t be produced by the human body). Fish is the next best source and is then followed by meat, milk, soya beans, oatmeal, rice, peas, lentils, kidney beans and then wholemeal bread.