What is Protein, and How Can You Get More in Your Diet?

What is Protein, and How Can You Get More in Your Diet? - There are all kinds of vitamins and nutrients we need in our diets in order to remain strong and healthy, and protein is one of the things that we need most. In addition to being important for muscle growth, it is also a source of energy.

What is Protein?
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, protein is defined as:
What is Protein, and How Can You Get More in Your Diet?
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1: any of various naturally occurring extremely complex substances that consist of amino-acid residues joined by peptide bonds, contain the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, usually sulfur, and occasionally other elements (as phosphorus or iron), and include many essential biological compounds (as enzymes, hormones, or antibodies)

2: the total nitrogenous material in plant or animal substances.
Protein is a macronutrient, one that the body needs in order to maintain good health. In fact, protein is necessary for our survival. Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and hydrogen combine to create chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.

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There are a total of 22 amino acids, eight essential amino acids and 14 non-essential ones. These amino acids are all used for different purposes by the body. The eight essential amino acids are: leucine, tryptophan (the stuff in turkey that makes you tired), lysine, threonine, valine, isoleucine, methionine and phenylalanine. The non-essential amino acids are: alanine, glycine, l-arginine, proline, cystine, aspartic acid, asparagine, cysteine, glutamine, taurine, glutathione, asparagines and serine.

Complete and Incomplete Proteins
There are two types of proteins: complete and incomplete. Below are descriptions of each.
Complete Proteins: These have all eight of the essential amino acids, which is why they are known as complete proteins. The best sources of complete proteins come from animals, with lean beef, white meat poultry and fish being the most popular and tasty sources. You can also find many fruits and vegetables that are complete proteins, including bananas, apples, carrots and soy beans.

Incomplete Proteins: Many healthy foods are considered to be incomplete proteins, because they do not contain all of the 22 essential amino acids. But, when eaten in the right combinations, you can still get all of the amino acids your body needs. And it is not always necessary to get all 22 amino acids, so as long as you are getting all of the essential amino acids in your diet, one way or another, you will be doing fine.

How You Can Get More Protein In Your Diet
There are many ways you can get the protein you need in your daily diet, without having to eat all day long. There are plenty of tasty treats, such as nuts and bananas, that are loaded with protein, and these make great snacks that you can keep in your office for a quick protein fix any time of the day. Or, enjoy a salad with protein-rich chicken and cheese for lunch. If you are a breakfast skipper, you can take a delicious protein shake on the go with you.

Protein Rich Foods
There are loads of delicious foods that you can add to your diet to give you all the protein you need. If you are a steak lover, rejoice! Lean red meat is full of protein. So is white meat chicken and turkey, and a tasty roast pork can provide a healthy serving of protein.

Fish has always been known to be loaded with protein, and you can get your protein just by adding a can of tuna in oil to your tossed salad. Double up the protein by adding some nuts and seeds, which taste great too!

Do you remember seeing television shows and movies where bodybuilders, weight lifters and athletes would drink raw eggs? Actually, before the invention of protein supplements, people were using eggs to get the added protein they needed before and after workouts. Eggs are an excellent source of protein. Mix them with some cheese, which is also a great source of protein, and make a great-tasting breakfast omelet in just a few minutes.

Milk and milk products are also protein-rich. In fact, whey and casein, proteins that are used in many protein supplements, are milk derivatives, byproducts from the cheese-making process. And, just think about how many meals and desserts you can make with milk and milk products, including cheesecake. It may be fattening, but it has loads of protein!

Don't forget to eat your fruits and veggies. Although many are incomplete proteins, you can still get loads of protein eating certain vegetables, including lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, and fruits such as bananas, apples and watermelons. Try eating fruit and vegetable salads, and for even more protein, sprinkle them with some nuts and seeds.

Using Protein Supplements
If you are afraid that you are not getting enough protein in your diet, or you are going on a high-protein diet, you can use protein supplements to get all of the additional protein you need. Protein supplements come in a variety of forms, including powdered, liquid and protein shots. Each of these protein supplements are portable and can be taken on the road, and they taste pretty good too.You can try Profect, a liquid protein supplement from Protica. It is small and portable.

Profect provides 25 grams of protein per 100 calorie serving and has zero fats and zero carbs.Protein Powders - These are an incredibly versatile form of protein supplement. They are available in a variety of flavors, from chocolate and vanilla to berry and fruit punch, so they are great for shakes and smoothies. They are also available in unflavored versions, and can be used in most of your favorite recipes to add extra protein to any meal.Liquid Protein - These protein supplements can either be mixed in with shakes, smoothies and other recipes, or used as a stand-alone drink.

Liquid protein supplements are often used as meal replacements, and are available in a high carbohydrate, high fat version for bodybuilders and athletes, and also a low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, low-fat version for dieters.Protein Shots - These little babies really pack a protein punch! Protein shots are portable shots of protein that you can drink, and they have 25-30 grams of protein per serving. They come in a variety of delicious flavors, including raspberry, grape and sour apple.

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