Friday, January 11, 2013

One Food Plan Doesn't Fit Everyone, Part 2

Continued from here.

Just a brief bit here on the Proteins / Amino-acids we all need. (Some in-depth info on Fats coming soon...)

Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of our body tissues such as our skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of our immune system and hormones.

Proteins are made up of substances called amino acids, 22 of which are considered vital for our health. Our body can make 14 of these amino acids, but the other eight (or nine, some controversy there), known as essential amino acids, must be obtained from what we eat. Proteins are found in all types of food, but only meat, eggs, cheese and other foods from animal sources contain complete proteins, meaning they provide the eight/nine essential amino acids.

Amino acids are organic compounds that combine to form proteins. Amino acids and proteins are the building blocks of life.

When proteins are digested or broken down, amino acids are left. The human body needs a number of amino acids to:
  • Break down food
  • Grow
  • Repair body tissue
  • Perform many other body functions
Amino acids are classified into three groups:
  • Essential amino acids
  • Nonessential amino acids
  • Conditional amino acids
Essential amino acids
  • Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body. As a result, they must come from food.
  • The nine essential amino acids are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptohan, and valine.
Nonessential amino acids
  • "Nonessential" means that our bodies produce an amino acid, even if we don't get it from the food we eat.
  • They include: alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.
Conditional amino acids
  • Conditional amino acids are usually not essential, except in times of illness and stress.
  • They include: arginine, cysteine, glutamine, tyrosine, glycine, ornithine, proline, and serine.
You do not need to eat essential and nonessential amino acids at every meal, but getting a balance of them over the whole day is very important.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention here that grocery-store eggs that say "high in Omega-3" should be avoided... not because Omega-3 isn't good for us (It really is good great for us!). Typically those chickens are fed poor-quality sources of omega-3 fats that are already oxidized. Not good for the chicks, and certainly not good for us.

1 comment:

  1. This is really super info! I'd not come across such an easily understood article about proteins. I find it interesting, from the point of view of an educator for chickens. I often talk to owners about feed issues, protein being a key one. The essential proteins, particularly methionine, are a problem with strictly grain fed chickens.

    Thanks for this timely post, as I am off to do a chicken workshop this morning!


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