The top 3 highest quality protein sources are:
3. Beef (eat in moderation)
Without getting too deep into organic chemistry, the reason they are so good for you is that they contain all 8 essential amino acids. There are 22 amino acids that make up protein, and our bodies can produce all of them except for the 8 essentials, so it’s really important that you get them from your diet.
Protein sources that include all 8 mean they are really good quality and you don’t need to consume as much to experience the health benefits. What are some of these health benefits?
-Helps produce structures in the body such as, muscle (this is why eating protein after a workout will help re-build your muscles)
-Transports nutrients and hormones throughout our bloodstream
-Is needed for proper digestion (the breakdown of carbs, fats & proteins)
-Provides us with energy that lasts
-Is important for a healthy immune system: protein helps produce immune cells & antibodies
-Acts as a buffer to keep the pH levels in our body normal (when our bodies become too acidic it can lead to unpleasant side effects* such as: weight gain, bladder & kidney issues, hormone concerns, premature aging, osteoporosis, joint pain, low energy, chronic fatigue, slow digestion & elimination. Highly acidic foods include red meat, dairy, processed sugar & carbs, alcohol, and coffee. High alkaline foods include beans, whole grains and most fruits & vegetables).
*These side effects are usually experienced in people whose diets are very high in the above foods over long periods of time.
The list included a total of 12 top quality protein foods. Here’s the rest of the list:
4. Quinoa (keen-wah)
5. Sunflower Seeds
8. Rice (brown rice is a healthy option)
These are lower on the list because some of them are missing an essential amino acid or are low in one or two of them. This is why combining these food groups (ex. grains & legumes) will create a complete, high quality protein source.
For all of you health geeks out there, here’s a list of the 8 essential amino acids: