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Protein: one of the three key macronutrients

When cooking a plant-based meal, be sure to combine different vegetables so that you get the right quality and the right amount of protein.

How is protein synthesized?

The protein are part of every cell in our body. They consist of 20 simple amino acids that combine to form proteins, one of the 3 essential macronutrients. The word protein comes from the Greek prōteios, which means “to hold the first place”.

Protein Food Products Flat Illustration Poster

Proteins form the enzymes , which perform almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place inside the cell. They form our antibodies, thereby strengthening our immune system. In addition, the hormones that regulate our metabolism, can be proteins. The liver contains 20-30% protein and 30% red blood cells. They are part of our bones, our hair, our nails and let’s not forget the most famous, the muscles, which contain around 30% protein.

What foods can we find protein in?

Protein is found in animal products and vegetables. What differs, besides the quantity, is the quality. To understand this, we go back to amino acids . There are nine essential amino acids that the human body does not synthesize, and their intake depends solely on our diet. They are found in complete or incomplete proteins. Proteins of animal origin ( meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products ), quinoa and chia seeds , are for a large percentage complete, which means that they contain the 9 essential amino acids necessary for the human body. On the other hand, in the various foods of plant origin (fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts and seeds), one can only find part of the essential amino acids.

How Much Protein Should We Eat?

When cooking a plant-based meal, be sure to combine different vegetables so that you get the right quality and the right amount of protein.

According to the reference dietary intake, 0.8 to 1.2 grams per kg consumption is the right amount of protein. To this figure we adjust daily activity and physical exercise.

We mentioned earlier, some foods high in protein and the right amount of intake. Emphasize the importance of food combinations that give you the highest amount of protein in the healthiest way.

IMPORTANT: When we eat food for protein, we are also consuming whatever goes with it. It can be fats, fibers, micronutrients. Therefore, depending on our state of health, we need to carefully choose the source of protein. For example, red meat contains a high percentage of protein and also a high percentage of fat. Thus, it is better to choose poultry or fish even if they contain less protein than red meat. Pair these last two with lentils, which have a high percentage of vegetable protein, and you will get the amount of protein your body needs.

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