Protein is a vital nutrient that your body needs to thrive. How you fulfill this need is up to you, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Adding a variety of protein sources to your diet is wise, as each contains their own individual nutrient profile and a combination of amino acids. Your body needs a variety of both to be at its healthiest. Knowing all your options and understanding the best protein per serving foods can help you add flavor and variety to your diet.
What is So Great About Protein?
Protein is one of the building blocks of life as its presence in the body is essential to cell regeneration and repair, and building muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is a part of every cell, and the body would cease to function without some source of it to work with. The body actually needs large amounts of protein to sustain itself which classifies it as a macronutrient. The body needs it to be delivered consistently by external sources to nourish the system. If you are craving protein, it’s probably for a good reason.
What are Amino Acids?
Just as protein is one of the primary building blocks of the human body, amino acids are the building blocks of all proteins. The amino acids are linked together in the protein molecule in a unique fashion known as peptide linkage. Upon digestion, the protein is split into its component amino acids, which are then used to serve the body accordingly. As you will see in the protein per the serving chart below, the ultimate value of a food protein lies in its amino acid composition adrenal fatigue treatment.
All proteins are not created equal. There are many amino acids and amino acid combinations, and you must get them from food. The human body needs a number of amino acids in large enough amounts to maintain good health. Amino acids are found in animal sources such as meats, milk, fish, and eggs. Some plants, such as beans, legumes, nut butter, and grains like wheat germ and quinoa, can also be good sources of amino acids.
There are three classifications of amino acids. They are:
- Essential Amino Acids. The term ‘essential’ means that they can not be made by the body and that they must be supplied through nutrition. Consuming them throughout the day, rather than all in one meal, is important.
- Nonessential Amino Acids. These acids are created by the body using essential amino acids or in the process of the proteins breaking down.
- Conditional Amino Acids. These are amino acids that are required due to special medical conditions such as illness and stress. Their synthesis is limited to certain pathophysiological conditions.
Plant-Based Proteins vs. Animal Proteins
Contrary to what many think, you do not need to eat animal products to get all the protein you need in your diet. There are many plant sources that give you just as much protein as animal products. In fact, many plant proteins offer even more health benefits above and beyond that of typical plant-based protein sources such as soy, legumes, and hemp.
Although an eight-ounce steak provides you with an adequate amount of protein, which your body needs, it also comes with a large amount of saturated fat, which can cause high cholesterol and other problems. On the other hand, many plant proteins provide a healthy source of fat, which is essential in your diet.
Protein Per Serving
The amount of protein a person needs in their diet varies according to the individual. On average, a healthy adult should consume approximately 10%-35% of their total caloric needs in protein. As an example, a person on a 2000 calorie diet would need 100 grams of protein (at 4 calories per gram) to supply their body with 20% of the daily calorie intake.
The following are a variety of good protein sources and their associated protein per serving content.
Protein Content: 1 cup is equal to 6 g of protein per serving
Beans are an excellent supply of protein per serving. Along with its impressive protein content, one cup of beans also provides 19 grams of dietary fiber.
Protein Content: 1 cup is equal to 19 g of protein per serving
As an easy alternative to beans, lentils don’t require a presoak of any sort. You can simply cook and eat them in 20 minutes. Along with the great protein they provide, their nutrient profile also includes 16 grams of fiber and a vibrant range of minerals.