One of the basic building blocks of the body is amino acids. They are found in our very DNA. Many are produced by the body, but others are only obtained from food. Multivitamins may contain a few but the best source is food.
Why are they so important? Amino acids combine to create structural proteins in the body. They are found in our cells. Each cell combines with others to give rise to organs, then systems, and finally the entire human organism. Without them we wouldn’t have nerves, arteries, bone, muscle or anything else.
Proteins carry out certain functions in the body through catalysts called enzymes. It is these enzymes that utilize oxygen in the cells, create energy to be used by muscle tissue and secreted hormones.
How about blood clotting and cellular integrity? It all works because of proteins that are doing their job. Without clotting factors, you would bleed out when you got cut. If cells were left vulnerable, organs would be more susceptible to cancer and other diseases.
Remember those amino acids that we get from food? Well, they come from protein sources. Without them, we would lack the necessary amino acid combinations to get and keep the body running. Your human machine could grind to a halt.
There are many sources of protein but all are not created equal. Some protein-rich food also contains a lot of fat. What you don’t need is more saturated, unhealthy fats in your body. So, you need protein sources that are lower in fat but high in the proteins that the body needs to break down and retrieve the amino acids that it lacks.
* Red meat – Red meat is full of protein. Leaner cuts such as sirloin, will come with less fat. Steak is better than a roast for getting what you need.
* Fish – Certain fish and shrimp contain protein, as well as other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and selenium and other minerals. They are good for heart health and overall well-being. Try salmon, mackerel or sardines.
* Dairy products – Milk contains protein and vitamin D, which is instrumental in using calcium in the body. Calcium is needed by the bones but also the muscles for growth and fiber production. And, don’t forget to eat your yogurt and eggs, with or without the yolk.
* Beans – Beans contain plant protein but not a lot of fat. You can choose from black, soybeans, Navy, Lima, kidney and others to get the goods.