Updated: Aug 18
Protein – what is it?
It is essential to the health of the human body and consists of chains of amino acid. I'm going to skip all the scientific details and get to the bits you are only really concerned about.
What does protein do?
In short and by different ways – they build, strengthen and repair or replace
things, such as tissue. There are 9 amino acids our body needs because our body either cannot make or produce fast enough. A protein/food which has all 9 is known as a complete protein.
Incomplete doesn’t have all 9 and complementary ones can be combined to complete all 9.
Why has there been a surge in protein intake and the benefits?
If there is only one thing you take away today with you – its this. Unless you are an athlete or work out a lot you do not need to supplement a normal diet with extra protein. When we exercise in extreme – we put our body under strain and essentially we cause microscopic tears. The protein supplements work to help the muscles repair quicker (since the usual dietary protein will be used elsewhere e.g. replenishing skin, hair etc). If you are taking more protein than your body needs – quite simply your body will either get rid of it, or store it as fat. And could have adverse effects too on the kidneys.
Protein does NOT build muscle, protein REPAIRS muscle.
So how much do we need?
In general – 0.8g per kilo of body weight. E.g 60kg x .8g = 48g a day. *In general 46g for women and 56g for men (sedentary)
Per 5 large eggs is around 31.5g of protein or 100g of chicken breast is around 31g. But check on which proteins and how much you need.
Protein can help keep you full so people assume that protein is the way to beat hunger or replace carbs (with the rise of Atkins and Keto)
Quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds is a complete protein. Soy e.g Tofu, Quorn or combining rice and black beans – is complete.
Starches and fibre
Fibre - Soluble and insoluble – as it reads!
Soluble helps stabilizes your blood glucose after meal so you will help you stay fuller for longer.
Insoluble reduces transit time in intestine because it is insoluble it created the bulk of the faeces therefore you go to the toilet earlier – affects the fecal PH levels – which help reduce colorectal cancer.
Recommended daily fibre intake 17g pp.
Vitamins and minerals.
We only need them in small dosages.
Water soluble vits – can be affected by light, cooking, water etc. It’s not stored in the body so much be consumed and excess is gotten rid of by urine. E.G Vit B and C
These are unaffected by heat and can be stored so no need to take daily and can be toxic if too much in body. E.g Vit A,D,E and K.
We need these in even lesser dosage than Vit’s - but they a
re important – helps structure of tissues, contributes to enzyme systems, fluid balance, function of cells and neurotransmissions (nerve functions and electrical activity)
Things which affect absorption
The dietary course e.g calcium from milk is more absorbed than veg or cereal.
The chemical form it comes in – e.g iron in meat (haem iron) is less absorbed than veg (non-haem) (lentils, leafy greens, nuts etc)
Some combinations – inhibit absorption – e.g iron and zinc are absorbed at the same site so compete, or Vit A (eye health, bone health, immune system eg Mango, cheddar / egg, raw spinach) inhibits K (helps blood clot. E.g broccoli, fish, kale, avo, tomatoes, blueberries) some enhance– e.g vit c improves non-haem iron (eg leafy greens) or Vit A increased by 200% when paired with rice, 140% with corn and 80% with wheat.
The more you eat of the mineral – the less it will absorb, the more you eat the less your body absorbs since it doesn’t need it.
The older you get – the less you absorb.
Calcium- bones, nerve impulses e.g muscle contractions – milk and dairy, tofu, leafy green
Phosphorous – release oxygen and energy in cell. - milk and dairy, meat and meat products and veg like potatoes
Magnesium – circulatory system (blood and lymph systems), nervous system hearing and bones – whole grain, nuts, dark green veg, meat, seafood, dairy.
Sodium – fluid monitoring, blood pressure – bread, meat esp ham, gammon, bacon etc, milk and dairy, sauces etc
Potassium – nerves and muscle function, heart rhythm – bananas, legumes, mushrooms, avo. Milk, fish, lean meat
Iron – red blood cells, hemoglobin, protect body from stress effects – read meat and organs, dried fruits, whole wheat, nuts, shellfish
Zinc – wound healing, reproductive organs, energy, metabolize protein, skin health – shellfish, lean red meat, whole grain, legumes.
Some Parings which are great!
Iron + Vit C - beef and broccoli or tofu and peppers
zinc and iron like whole grains and garlic/onions.
Vitamin D and Calcium e.g Vit D Salmon, tuna, egg yolks with calcium collard greens, broccoli, dried figs, oranges and dairy foods. E.g cheese omelette, salmon with collared greens (eg kale, spinach, cabbage)
We still we need less of but those will be from the ones above.