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How Important Is Consuming Protein?

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How Important Is Consuming Protein?

Everyone knows what protein is, in general, but most people don’t have a deeper concept of just how vital it is to our body. It is so important to consume enough healthy protein in our diet and from a healthy source. Opinions vary, but it is recommended that it is healthy to consume anywhere from 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily. A bodybuilder’s protein intake recommendations may be higher in order to add the desired muscle mass.

So What Are Proteins?

Proteins are the macronutrients that form the foundation of our diet. Proteins help to build new cells and regulate the metabolism. They actually help all of your cells communicate and shuttle oxygen throughout the body in the form of hemoglobin. They also have the ability to build muscle.

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. It is absolutely essential that we consume these daily and in the right way. Our DNA directs the body to join various combinations of amino acids into a variety of sequences, each serving a unique function and feeding our bodies exactly what it needs.

We can store fats and carbohydrates to draw on when needed, but we do not have a storage pool of amino acids. We need to add to it each day in order to build the body proteins that we need. If we are missing a particular amino acid to form the protein it needs, it will pull that amino acid by breaking down existing muscle protein. Consistently lacking certain amino acids means we will lose muscle weight, energy and, eventually, fundamental body functions.

The Main Sources Of Daily Protein:

  • Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish are complete sources of protein. They contain all of the essential amino acids.
  • Nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains. However, in order to consume all of the essential amino acids, plant foods must be used to complement each other with their amino acid profiles. Beans tend to be low in one amino acid that grains have plenty of, so combining these foods forms a complete protein, like beans and rice.

Be sure and consume your daily healthy protein and remember that centering on a protein diet promotes energy, healthy muscles and even weight loss!

Amino Acids Amazing Abilities

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Amino acids are known to be the “building blocks” of life, but what most people don’t know is their long list of therapeutic roles in recovery from illness and contributing to good health.

They keep the gastrointestinal tract working, prevent aging and degenerative diseases, they have powerful antixodant properties, support the immune system, heavy metal detoxification, support the heart and nervous systems, regulate blood sugar (energy) and can restore vitality when needed.

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Here is a list covering some of the main amino acids and just some of the things they do or help your body:

Alanine

  • metabolism of glucose

Arginine

  • tumors and cancer.
  • function of the immune system
  • liver detoxifier
  • increases sperm count
  • healing/repair of skin and connective tissue
  • muscle metabolism
  • proper nitrogen balance
  • weight loss by increasing muscle mass
  • regulation of many enzymes and hormones
  • release of growth hormone
  • new bone and collagen

Asparagine

  • balance within the central nervous system
  • amino acids convert to what they are supposed to in the liver

Aspartic

  • stamina
  • metabolism
  • chronic fatigue
  • neural and brain disorders
  • removes excess ammonia from the body
  • cell function and function of RNA and DNA
  • produces immunoglobulins and antibodies

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Carnitine

  • transports long-chain fatty acids to provide muscle energy
  • uses fat as an energy source
  • diabetes
  • alcohol-induced fatty liver
  • heart disorders
  • blood triglycerides
  • weight loss
  • muscle strength

Citrulline

  • energy
  • immune system
  • detoxifies ammonia

Cysteine and Cystine

  • detoxifier
  • strong nails, skin and hair, produces collagen
  • free radicals
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • hardening of the arteries
  • heavy metals chelation
  • iron absorption
  • fat burning
  • breaks down mucus
  • strengthens white blood cell activity

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)

  • neurotransmitter
  • anxiety, stress-related nervousness
  • epilepsy and hypertension
  • relaxant, increases libido
  • enlarged prostate
  • ADD

Glutamic

  • builds proteins
  • metabolism of sugars and fats
  • transports potassium across the blood-brain barrier
  • brain fuel
  • personality and childhood behavioral disorders

Glutamine

  • most abundant in the body, protein building block
  • can convert to glucose
  • energy source
  • fuel for cells lining the intestine
  • anti-inflammatory
  • mental functioning, helps with depression
  • athletic performance
  • gastritis, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis

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Glutathione

  • antioxidant produced in the liver
  • detoxifies
  • supports red and white blood cells
  • carbohydrate metabolism
  • Anti-aging
  • breaks down oxidized fats that lead to atherosclerosis

Glycine

  • prostate gland
  • muscle degeneration
  • construction of DNA, RNA
  • synthesis of nucleic acids, bile acids
  • hypoglycemia
  • epilepsy
  • bipolar disorder, hyperactivity
  • low pituitary function

Histidine (or Histadine)

  • growth, repair of tissues
  • T-cell function
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • maintenance of the myelin sheaths protect the nerve cells
  • sexual arousal
  • indigestion
  • production of red and white blood cells
  • removing heavy metals

Isoleucine

  • hemoglobin formation
  • blood sugar, energy levels
  • energy,endurance, healing, repair muscle tissue
  • mental disorders

Lysine

  • nitrogen balance
  • muscle mass, collagen formation, tissue repair
  • high serum triglycerides
  • concentration
  • bone and growth development in children
  • antibodies, hormones, and enzymes
  • calcium absorption

Methionine

  • pancreatitis
  • liver function
  • clogging the arteries
  • breakdown of fats
  • detoxifies heavy metals
  • brittle hair
  • osteoporosis
  • powerful antioxidant
  • excretion of estrogen
  • schizophrenia
  • tumors

Ornithine

  • muscle-building
  • immune system, liver function
  • detoxifies ammonia
  • liver regeneration
  • damaged skin, connective tissue

Phenylalanine and D,L-Phenylanlanine (DLPA)

  • alcohol withdrawal
  • osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
  • vitiligo
  • mood elevator
  • sexual arousal
  • hunger, cravings for food
  • menstrual cramps, migraines, pain

Serine

  • metabolism of fats and fatty acids
  • growth of muscle
  • immune system
  • immunoglobulins and antibodies
  • moisturizing capabilities

Taurine

  • absorbing fats and fat-soluble vitamins
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • cell membrane stability
  • brain cell overactivity
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • building block for other Amino Acids
  • bile (digestion of fats)
  • serum cholesterol
  • edema, hypoglycemia
  • anxiety, poor brain function, seizures

Threonine

  • protein balance
  • collagen, elastin
  • liver, lipotrophic function
  • fatty liver
  • antibodies, immune system

Tryptophan

  • B3 (Niacin)
  • serotonin
  • normal sleep
  • depression and insomnia
  • mood stabilizer
  • hyperactivity in children
  • relieves stress
  • heart health
  • weight control by decreasing appetite
  • migraine headaches

Tyrosine

  • mood elevator
  • key component of melanin
  • suppresses your appetite, reduces body fat
  • adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands
  • metabolism
  • chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, allergies, headaches
  • alcohol, cocaine, addictive drugs withdrawal support.

Valine

  • stimulant
  • muscle metabolism, tissue repair
  • nitrogen balance
  • energy source for the muscles

Amino acids are powerful. They help cure disease, prevent disease, alleviate many symptoms, elevate our mood, and help us live longer and healthier lives! So go eat your healthy protein or drink a whey protein smoothie…. and give your body the tools it needs!

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The Health Benefits Of Moringa Leaves

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Moringa is a miracle life sustaining superfood that ounce per ounce provides a powerful source of energy, healing and nutrition including all of the essential amino acids, and is a tremendous source of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber.

Here are examples of just how powerfully packed these ingredients are in the Moringa Leaf:

  • 17 times the Calcium as in milk
  • 25 times the Iron as in spinach
  • 10 times the Vitamin A as in carrots
  • 15 times the fiber as in wheat
  • 15 times the potassium as in a banana
  • 2 times the protein as in an egg
  • 30 times the Vitamin B2 as in almonds

Additionally, the Moringa Leaf is a tremendous source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and both Macro and Trace Minerals, Phytonutrients and even Iron and Calcium. The Moringa leaf is also a very good source of bio-available quality dietary fiber as well as protein.

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Benefits and support from continuous intake of Moringa:

  1. Increases the body’s natural defenses
  2. Provides nourishment to the eyes and the brain
  3. Promotes the metabolism because of the bio-available ingredients
  4. Promotes healthy cell structure of the body
  5. Promotes natural serum cholesterol
  6. Lessens the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines
  7. Promotes healthy kidney and liver function
  8. Beautifies and nourishes the skin
  9. Promotes healthy boosts of long lasting energy
  10. Promotes healthy digestion
  11. Acts as a powerful antioxidant
  12. Takes care of the immune system of the body
  13. Promotes a healthy circulatory system
  14. It is a natural anti-inflammatory
  15. Gives a feeling of general well being
  16. Supports normal blood sugar levels of the body

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It’s the world’s most nutritious tree and the leaves contain approximately 20 different types of amino acids, 45 different antioxidants and 35 anti-inflammatory compounds. These amazing nutrients make for one of the best packed full natural nutritional supplements.

Protein Packed Snacks For Your Work Out

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If you’re headed to the gym, then here are 5 great protein powered snacks to take with you:

Whey Protein Powder (isolates) = 24 grams of protein (30 gram scoop)

Nothing compares to this for digestibility, ease and convenience to get your protein. Mix it with milk if you want a little more protein or blend in a smoothie to add ingredients of choice (frozen fruit for some carbs, colostrum, probiotics, maca, moringa leaf, etc.)

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Chicken, Turkey or Tuna (3 ounces) = 14 (4 slices of turkey) to 22 (½ can of tuna) grams of protein

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Eat in a lettuce wrap or slice of whole wheat bread for a great snack.

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Milk (16 ounces) = 17 grams of protein

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It’s that simple. Add a scoop of decadent cacao to it for some powerful antioxidants or mix with whey protein powder for a protein punch.

Greek Yogurt (5.3 ounce container) = 15 grams of protein

Easy and delicious. Skip any with added sugar or fruit. Instead add some berries or nuts to it for a perfect snack.

Eggs (three) = 19 grams of protein

These are a protein staple and so easy, especially hardboiled. Eat whole or sliced with a little salt and pepper.

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Eating one of these easy protein snacks before you work out will give you the protein you need for muscle support and muscle building and for the sustained energy and stamina you need to get you through it. Eat another protein packed snack after your work out to help you in that immediate recovery period to rebuild the muscle broken down and restore the energy you used up and to help you feel good!

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Why Whey Protein Isolates Can Change Your Life?

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Whey protein isolates (sometimes called whey isolate or WPI) is a dietary supplement created in the process of filtering milk protein. It is actually the tansluscent liquid that you can see when the casein protein is removed to make cheese. It is basically a by-product of making cheese. This cheese making process yields 3 forms of whey: whey isolate (WPI), whey concentrate (WPC), or whey hydrolysate (WPH). However, as it is processed and purified into whey protein isolates it can lose some of its biologic activity, but the amino acid sequences do not change when this happens and the protein is denatured. If a protein is denatured during this process, it does not have any effect on its muscle-building qualities. All large proteins are broken down during digestion into smaller protein chains and individual amino acids (denatured). Whether this process occurs in the gut or in the factory doesn’t affect how they are absorbed in the body.

What is unique about whey protein isolates is that the protein content is concentrated to levels as high or higher than 90%, and yet has very little fat and lactose (about 0.5%). This is the primary difference between whey protein and its isolate form. In contrast, whey protein contains around 10-15% protein, 60-75% lactose and 1% milk fat. Whey protein isolate is popular with people who are lactose sensitive or intolerant and unable to easily digest the lactose in whey protein. Many people definitely prefer whey protein isolates for its high protein concentration, especially athletes. It’s easy to add carbohydrates to your whey protein isolate if you want them, just by mixing it in a smoothie with fruit or fruit juice.

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Whey protein can be easily reconstituted for consumption by mixing it with water, juice, milk, almond or coconut milk, or another liquid.  It is very popular today, especially among athletes and people on the go, because of its ability to be digested very rapidly and it is an easy and very healthy source of high quality protein.

Significant HEALTH BENEFITS of whey protein:

Muscle Growth – Whey protein isolates contain ALL the essential amino acids our bodies need every day and that our bodies alone cannot manufacture on its own. These types of essential amino acids must be obtained through our diet. Equally important is the actual quality of these amino acids. There are two important components of whey protein isolates that make these important muscle builders 1) they have branched chain amino acids which are unique because they are directly metabolized by the muscles 2) the amino acid leucine which promotes muscle growth and development.

It is very healthy to consume whey protein isolates all through your life, but especially  later in life to prevent the natural degradation of muscles that occurs with age. This will also help reduce the chance of developing obesity and all of the problems associated with it.

The pure protein content of whey protein isolates is very quickly used by the body helping in the synthesis of muscle building. It gives you more strength and stamina for athletic activities and a decreased recovery time with muscle building.

Weight Loss – This is beneficial for weight loss in two ways 1) it requires more energy to digest whey protein isolates which causes the burning of more calories after a meal 2) it also aids in suppressing the appetite. Whey protein isolates contain two hormones that contribute to weight loss: cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide-1. Many recent studies have found that low fat diets with the highest protein content—the low-carbohydrate diets—have the best results in weight loss. Another component is its ability to help in decreasing triglycerides and total cholesterol while increasing the good cholesterol (HDL).

Immune System – Whey protein isolates increase the levels of glutathione, your body’s main water based anti-oxidant, which has the power to greatly reduce the number of free radicals in the body. These free radicals can potentially cause cellular damage to the body. It also contains immunoglobin antibodies and other molecules that are foundational for the immune system. It even initiates the growth of new healthy skin.

No supplement can replace a diet of whole, natural, unprocessed foods, but whey protein isolates are the next best thing and can be incredibly useful for people with a very busy, on-the-go lifestyle as a supplement, snack or full meal replacement to their normal diet routine. There is almost an endless list of benefits in consuming high-quality whey protein isolates every day! It is a life preserving product that we should all incorporate into our diets.

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What has happened to the integrity of our food supply?

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Despite the fact that the food industry spends literally billions of dollars on creative advertising and packaging, convincing us on how great and healthy their particular product is, or better yet, how convenient it is, we are eating less nourishing and more damaging foods than ever.

There are 5 reasons our food supply is dramatically different than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

1)  We know less of what is in our food now than ever.

I’ve become quite the label reader and yet reading a label these days is not very helpful. It’s a mile long and has words and names of ingredients that I can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they actually ARE or if they are healthy. Food companies, in my opinion, have become creative labelers, even deceptive by changing the names of things, not having to disclose what’s in a listed ingredient or saying something contains a “100%” of an ingredient when it contains 51% or more of that ingredient. To say the least it’s incredibly frustrating, but it is also upsetting to be deceived when you are trying to eat healthy. What’s even worse is more and more foods now have poisonous preservatives, fats and sweeteners. You can’t even get away from it! You basically need a PhD in chemistry just to understand what’s listed in modern day labels. And sorry to beat a dead horse, but there are also more than 3,000 ingredients included on the FDA’s list of “safe” food additives, many of which are in everything. I don’t trust their idea of “safe” anyway….so moving on.

Woman checking food labelling

2)  Since when does food need a shelf life.

What did we ever do before trans fats and how did we actually survive? Well, before we baked it, then we ate it. Now, you can bake it and it will still be preserved for weeks and months to come, gosh maybe longer if it’s a Twinkie (like years or decades according to the rumors). The development of trans fats after World War II opened the door to bake and fry in a cheaper more effective way, but also allowing foods to be stored at room temperature without leaking oils and remaining so called “fresh”. The use of trans fats apparently makes potato chips and french fries crispier, cookies tastier and biscuits flakier. It also doesn’t smoke as much when you deep fry it…..I guess a bonus for restaurants. But the question is….is it good for you to eat them? NO, it is not, on a multitude of levels, but it for sure increases your risk for heart disease by increasing your bad cholesterol and lowering your good cholesterol. (more articles to follow on trans fats….don’t get me started)

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3)  Even our animal protein sources are less healthy today.

The fat content of many of our meat sources are dramatically higher than 30 or 40 years ago. We feed them corn or grain as well as soy products all laden with antibiotics, which adds unnecessary fat. We should be feeding them grass and bugs while they run around free, but instead they are sedentary, in cages and fed products they would never eat in the wild range. Nowadays you have to pay extra to eat a happy natural source of animal protein. The rest are exercise free and fed unimaginable things. So it’s not shocking to find out that today’s chicken has more calories from fat than from protein.

4)  Our fruits and vegetables are also less nutritious.

There is new research emerging that shows that the actual nutrition of our fruits and vegetables is less abundant now than decades ago. I’m not sure why this is, but I plan to get to the bottom of it. And obviously, the subject of GMO’s is a big one and a terrible reason for the decline in these foods. I have more to research and write on this subject….stay tuned.

5)  Our calorie intake has increased dramatically by what we drink each day.

This number has nearly doubled from what it was 30 or 40 years ago (and I have to think strongly that this is a VERY conservative number, I would say more like tripled or more). There was no Starbucks or Jamba Juice or the numbers of sodas readily available then like they are now. The introduction of high fructose corn syrup has also dramatically added to our waistlines as well, especially in children.

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This is one of those less than uplifting topics to write about, I know, but please don’t lose heart. It’s important to point out and focus on these things so we can do better.

There are many positive things you can do to avoid these things:

– avoid fast food (except maybe In ‘n Out)

– avoid processed foods or choose nutritious packaged food by reading the labels very carefully (the fewer the ingredients the better and making sure those are readily identifiable ingredients, sugar should not be first or second listed)

– drink only liquids that are 100% of whatever you’re drinking (juice, milk, etc.)

– avoid trans fats like the plague

– eliminate high fructose corn syrup from your diet entirely

– select and eat only whole foods

– buy organic produce when you can and learn to identify GMO foods (and avoid them)

– select lean cuts of meat and eat grass fed/free range meats and wild caught fish when you can

I know it sounds like a lot of work and more costly to eat this way, but poor health is even worse and even more costly. I’ve heard people say we spend more on our cars each month than our bodies and health. Hmm….maybe so?

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Taking an active informed role in what you eat is a huge benefit down the road, and teaching your kids to do the same. Eating healthier reduces your risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes, not to mention you feel a whole lot better!

Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

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Not all proteins are created equal. There are complete proteins that contain all of the essential amino acids needed for an optimal diet and then there are incomplete or partial proteins that are lacking one or more of the essential amino acids.

Sources of complete proteins are meat, fish, milk, yogurt, cheese, poultry and eggs. A cute way to remember the source of a complete protein is that it always comes from something with two eyes (an animal, my husband said I should clarify that).

Example sources of healthy protein with the essential amino acids your body needs that it cannot produce on its own:

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1 scoop of Whey Protein Powder – 17 to 19 grams of easily digested protein

1 ounce of meat or fish – 7 grams of protein

1 large egg – 6 grams of protein

A cup of milk – 8 grams of protein

½ cup of cottage cheese – 15 grams of protein

Yogurt 1 cup – 8-12 grams of protein (these vary)

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An incomplete protein is missing one or more of the essential amino acids and often also is not in the correct proportions. Sources of incomplete proteins are beans, nuts, seeds and grains. By combining one or more of these with another protein that contains any of the missing essential amino acids that is lacking, will then create a complete protein. Eating a complete combination of essential amino acids in the correct proportions within the same meal accomplishes all the necessary dietary requirements, but it is sometimes not as easy to accomplish as by just eating a complete protein.

Examples of sources of complementary proteins that can be combined to create a complete protein in one meal are:

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Seeds with Legumes

Seeds with Dairy

Grains with Legumes

Nuts with Legumes

Grains with Dairy

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Either way you make it happen, just make sure you eat your proper protein and get all of those essential amino acids every day!