Proteins Pay Off

Think you’re getting in the right dietary proteins?

Not sure? Here’s a little blurb that might help you better attend to your daily protein intake.

What’s so special about proteins?

Protein is one of 3 primary macronutrients–protein, fat, and carbohydrates–from which the human body derives energy. Protein is special for many reasons. Among them, protein is a key component of skin, hair, nails, muscle tissue, immune cells, and the lining of our arteries. Less obviously, protein is a key building block of enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and other signaling molecules that keep your body operating and responding to stimuli at lightning speed. Proteins also make up the molecular bases of the receptors that take up these signaling molecules and trigger the cascade of responses to a molecules’ presence or absence.  Sounds pretty important, yeah? Protein is also a transport facilitator–a taxi cab for nutrients, key blood factors, hormones, and other essential elements, delivering them to tissues all around the body.

Where can I get good protein?

Here are some of the forms in which healthful plant and animal-sourced proteins can present: organic eggs, nuts, seeds, and nut butters. Non-GMO tempeh and sprouted tofu (avoiding the “faux meat” forms), high-fat, grass-fed meats, unsweetened nut milks (almond, coconut, hemp, etc.), wild-caught fish, sustainably raised/heirloom poultry and game. High-fiber, proteinaceous grains/legumes include teff, quinoa, and sprouted beans. As for protein isolates, there is a whole beautiful logic behind these “naked” gems: the intact, undenatured amino acids of premium quality isolates can fuel and support repair in a big way. Important: not all proteins/isolates are created equal. With proteins becoming a flashy buzz-word in the nutritional market these days, GreenHealth can help you select an appropriate protein product(s) to match personal health or body-reform goals.

How much protein should I get per day?

Studies* indicate that between 0.8 and 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day marks the bounds of the healthful range. This is a very wide range. I tend to recommend daily averages around the lower end of the range. This prudent approach has served GreenHealth clients well. Muscle mass, dietary preferences, and degrees of athleticism tend to influence guidance.

* Studies include clinical observation and long-term, cumulative data from clinicians and individuals observing their own results.

What is the best complement to a protein food?

Vegetables. Vegetables. Vegetables. And moderate amounts of healthful fats. Many nutritional doctrines hold that proteins (and certain fats, too) can promote an acidic response within the gut and the blood systems–something highly undesirable, as acidity can promote development and susceptibility to illness, including lowering resistance to pathogens and bugs, and actually supporting disease processes such as tumor growth. Vegetables promote an alkaline environment within the body and contain valuable nutrients that can neutralize acidity, free radicals, and other less-than-optimal contributions from proteins. For general health support, eating veggies with proteins and healthful fats can support bodily repair and healthful weight maintenance.

Bottom line: Including appropriate amounts of high quality, fatty and CLEAN proteins, and/or lean protein isolates in the daily diet can significantly promote health function.