It is so important that we all eat healthy diets, not only to feel good but to look great as well. When we are not eating healthy, we do not look healthy. Our hair and skin look dull, our fingernails are brittle and our eyes look tired and lifeless. But when we are getting all of the nutrients we need in our diet, it really does show and you will not only look better, but you will feel a whole lot better too. There are three macronutrients that we all need in our diets in order to be healthy and actually, to survive. These macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and even with all of the bad things we hear about fat and carbohydrates, there are good ones and they are both necessary components of a healthy diet.
What Is Protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient and one that needs to be a part of every healthy diet. Protein is necessary for the growth and maintenance of our muscles and provides much of the energy that we need to get through our daily activities. Protein is made from chains of amino acids, of which there are two types: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids are necessary to have in our systems and our bodies are not able to produce them. So, we must get the essential amino acids from dietary sources and there are all kinds that are great for any diet, including low-calorie diets that are meant for weight loss.
There are eight essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, lysine, threonine, tryptophan, valine, methionine, and phenylalanine. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body is able to produce, therefore it is not necessary to get them from dietary sources. There are 14 non-essential amino acids in proteins: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, cystine, proline, serine, taurine, glutamine, tyrosine, ornithine, glutamic acid, and glycine.
There are two types of protein, complete and incomplete. Complete proteins are proteins that contain all 22 of the essential and non-essential amino acids and can be found in all animal-based proteins, as well as soy. Incomplete proteins, which is what you will find with all plant-based proteins (except soy) do not contain all of the amino acids and in order to make sure that you get them all, you must eat a variety of the foods that contain some or most of the essential and non-essential amino acids.
Getting Enough Protein in Your Diet
If you have decided to add protein and other nutrients to your diet, it is important that you get your nutrients from the right dietary sources. There are all kinds of things you can eat that may have some nutrients, but they are not always good for you. This is why you really need to do your research and learn which foods are best for the type of diet you wish to follow, no matter if you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or just want to feel healthy and look great.
There are many good dietary sources of protein that are great for any diet, and if you eat the right protein rich snacks between meals, you will feel fuller and not feel the urge to snack on unhealthy treats. Of course, it is alright to have a treat now and again, as long as you are making sure that all of your nutritional needs are being met each and every day. There are two dietary sources of protein, animal, and plant. All animal-based proteins are complete proteins and there are many that are not only diet friendly but are extremely delicious too. A healthy diet can include lean red meats, white meat poultry (breast meat), fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs.
You can also get plenty of protein from plant-based proteins, although because they are incomplete, they need to be eaten in combination to get all of the proper nutrients. Some really healthy plant-based proteins you can add to your diet, even a weight loss diet, include whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice, nuts and seeds (unsalted), potatoes, broccoli, avocados, and much more.
What to Do When Your Diet Is Just Not Enough
There are going to be times in your life when you just can’t get all of the nutrients you need from your diet. Sometimes, you are just far too busy to cook a meal, let alone sit down and eat it. Then, of course, there are times when you decide to stop and get take-out food and you definitely are not getting the nutrients you need with this kind of food. If you have kids who are fussy eaters, they may not be getting all of the nutrients that are vital to their growth and good health. So, with all of these things standing in your way, how can you be sure that you are always getting enough protein, as well as other nutrients and vitamins, in your diet every day? Supplements. There are all kinds of protein supplements available that will provide what you are missing in your diet. The key thing to remember is that they are not to be used all the time and you do have to make sure that you are eating some healthy food as well.
When you do decide to use protein supplements in your diet, you have a number of options to choose from. There are many different types of protein supplements, made from many different types of protein sources. Whey is a really popular protein supplement, for a number of reasons. It works quickly and is easy to digest, and it is one of the most inexpensive forms of protein supplements. Rice is another popular source of protein for supplements because it is so easy to digest. Rice protein is hypoallergenic, so it is ideal for those who have food allergies or intolerances. Soy is another popular form of protein and is the only plant-based protein that is complete. One drawback to soy is that some people find it difficult to digest.