Protein: The Building Blocks of Life

Proteins are the building blocks of your entire body. They help build all of your muscle tissue, organs, hormones, etc. and they are made up of 23 proteinogenic (protein-building) amino acids. These amino acids are divided into two categories, essential and non-essential. Non-essential amino acids are created by your body where as essential amino acids are only found in food sources.

The Essentials

There are 9 essential amino acids, they can be found in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, grains, legumes and nuts. Food sources containing less than the 9 are considered incomplete proteins where as food sources containing all 9 are considered complete. Foods such as grains, legumes and most vegetation are all incomplete proteins with the exception of 2; soy beans and quinoa. When you digest a food with incomplete protein your body will store those amino acids until you consume the remaining few it needs to build a complete protein.

In a balanced diet you should be consuming protein in every one of your 5-6 meals each day. For women, a palm sized portion of protein while men should have twice as much. A good rule of thumb for those who are trying to build muscle is to eat 1g of protein for each pound of lean mass that you weigh. A simple strategy for a balanced diet is to make sure you are eating whole proteins in each meal. This will be sure to help you reach your daily quota.

Written by: Timothy Khanoyan