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Everyone Benefits from Amino Acids

Steve April 29, 2013

Although protein is often associated with bodybuilding and lean mass gain, it is also important for a wide variety of functions within your body.  This is because protein contains amino acids, which are integral in the production of enzymes, hormones, skin, hair and muscle cells, among other tissues.  However, not all food sources offer the same quality of protein and only some foods are considered complete protein containing all essential amino acids.  These amino acids cannot be produced by your body, so you have to obtain them through your meals.


Eggs are a complete protein source, which makes them a fantastic source of protein.  Eggs do contain fat, nearly all of which is contained in the yolk.  However, the yolk also provides vitamins and most of the egg’s protein, so eating whole eggs may be more beneficial than eating egg whites, if you’re concerned about protein quality rather than cutting calories.


Fish is also a complete protein source.  Many fish, such as tilapia and orange roughy, are low in fat and high in protein, which makes them low-calorie, complete protein sources.  Other fish, such as salmon, contain high levels of healthy, unsaturated fats.  Though high in calories, these fish may offer health benefits that lean fish do not.


Poultry (includes chicken and turkey is a complete protein source, which are low in fat and rich in protein.  Chicken and turkey are versatile and can be prepared in a variety of ways.


Red meat is meat that is red when raw, such as cuts of beef or lamb.  Many sources of red meat are high in fat, though nutritional profile varies depends on the cut of meat.


Although soybeans are not an animal product, they are a complete protein source.  The National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health explain that soybeans are the only complete protein source in the plant kingdom.  Soybeans also contain carbohydrates, so you may want to choose other complete protein sources if you’re following a low-carbohydrate diet.


Whey protein is a complete source of protein, according to the Whey Protein Institute.  Whey protein is sold as a supplement, but it is also found in milk.  The Whey Protein Institute explains that 20 percent of the total protein in milk comes from whey.  Whey protein also contains ingredients that support immune health and contains branched chain amino acids, which are non-essential.

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