Protein
They must come from the foods we eat.      


Function of Protein:
Protein builds, repairs, and maintains body tissues.  Proteins also function as the
building blocks of muscle.  When carbohydrates and fat are in short supply, proteins
provide energy.  Complete protein sources contain all of the essential amino acids
that are needed by the body.  Each of those 9 essential amino acids provides a set of
specific functions for the body.  

Histidine - dialates vessels; helps absorb and transport zinc, helps to chelate
(improve availability of) minerals; is a mild anti-inflamatory; is needed for the
maintenance of myelin sheaths in the nervous system; produces histamine; and
provides the effects (itching, swelling, etc.) of allergic reactions.

Isoleucine, Leucine, and Valine - They are called branched amino acids.  All three
have the same main functions.  They stimulate protein synthesis and decrease
protein breakdown.  Although they have the same main functions they are each
metabolized differently in the body.  Leucine metabolizes fats, Valine metabolizes
carbohydrates, and isoleucine metabolizes both fats and carbohydrates.   

Lysine - plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering
from surgery or sports injuries; and the body's production of hormones, enzymes,
and antibodies.

Methionine - detoxifies the body of heavy metals; facilitates the breakdown of fats;
is needed for the absorption, trasportation, and availability of selenium and zinc; and
is  needed for the formation of carnitine, choline, collagen, creatine, epinephrine,
lecithin, melatonin, nulcleic acids, and serine.  It also normalizes homocystein, and
prevents fat accumulation in the liver and arteries.

Phenylalanine - assists in thyroid hormone formation; improves alertness, ambition,
and mood; and it regulates the release of cholecystokin (CCK), the hormone that
signals the brain to feel satisfied after eating.  

Threonine - helps metabolize fat; it is needed for proper digestion; it is needed for
the formation of tooth enamel, collagen, and eslastin; prevents the build-up of fat in
the liver; and it stabilizes blood sugar.  

Tryptophan - acts as a mood stabilizer; boosts the release of growth hormone;
breaks down into serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter); helps with insomnia; is an
inhibitory neurotransmitter; it is needed for the production of vitamin B3 (niacin); and
it suppresses appetite.  


Deficiency of Protein:
Deficiency of protein essential amino acids can occur when proteins are not
consumed regularly and in adequate amounts.  Lack of protein consumption can lead
to serious conditions such as stunted growth, decreased immunity, heart and
respiratory failure, and death. The following are the symptoms of protein deficiency
within each of the 9 essential amino acids:

Histidine - cataracts, exzema, indigestion, and joint pains.

Isoleucine, Leucine, and Valine - Studies are still being conducted on the deficiency
symptoms of these amino acids.  Although most people consume enough of these 3
essential amino acids in their diets, when an injury or stress occurs it results in an
increased need for the amino acids.  

Lysine - anemia, apathy, bloodshot eyes, depression, edema (swelling), fatigue,
fever blisters, hair loss, inability to concentrate, infertility, irritability, loss of energy,
muscle loss, stomach ulcers, stunted growth, and weakness.

Methionine - apathy, edema, fat loss, lethargy, liver damage, loss of pigmentation in
hair, muscle loss, skin lesions, slow growth in children, and weakness.

Phenylalanine - agitation, headaches, increased blood pressure, insomnia, and nerve
damage.

Threonine - depression, immunosuppression, indigestion, irritability, mental health
deterioration, and reduced growth.

Tryptophan - decreased zinc levels, impaired growth, pellagra (a vitamin deficiency
disease), and weightloss.  


Note: A variety of medical conditions can lead to the symptoms mentioned above.  Therefore, it is
important to have a physician evaluate them so that appropriate medical care can be given.


Toxicity (Protein Overdose):
Avoid taking supplements that isolate one or more amino acids and essential amino
acids.  It will create an imbalance in the system and cause adverse side effects.  The
best way to get an adequate supply of protein and essential amino acids is to
consume a moderate supply of foods that contain complete protein.  Like other
nutrient recommendations, the key to protein consumption is moderation.  Regularly
consuming adequate amounts of protein, good carbohydrates, and healthy fats (in
moderation) is the best way to create a healthy balance with energy foods for the
body.  Since most complete proteins come from animal sources, it is very important
for vegetarians and vegans to consume a variety of plant proteins such as legumes,
whole grains, sprouted legumes and whole grains, nuts, and seeds.   


High Protein Food Chart (List of High Protein Foods):
Complete proteins contain all of the 9 essential amino acids.  Complete proteins are
found in animal foods such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and other dairy products
such as yogurt and cheese.  Soybeans are the only plant source of complete protein.

Incomplete proteins lack one or more of the 9 essential amino acids.  Sources of
incomplete protein include beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.  A small
amount of incomplete protein is also found in vegetables.

Soybean nuts, roasted, 1/2 cup - (34 g)
Chicken breast, without skin, 3 oz - (29 g)
Top round beef 3 oz - (26 g)
Tuna 3 oz - (25 g)
Salmon 3 oz - (23 g)
Ground beef 3 oz - (21 g)
Lentils 1 cup - (18 g)
Baked beans 1 cup - (14 g)
Chickpeas, boiled, 1 cup - (14 g)
Cottage cheese 1/2 cup - (14 g)
Chicken nuggets 6 pieces - (14 g)
Turkey breast, roasted, 3 oz - (13 g)
Kidney beans, canned, 1 cup - (13 g)
Yogurt 1 cup - (10 g)
Tofu 1/2 cup - (10 g)
Milk 1 cup - (8 g)
Peanut butter, creamy, 2 tbsp - (8 g)
Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 oz - (7 g)
Cheddar cheese 1 oz - (7 g)
Walnuts, black, dried, 1 oz - (7 g)
Egg 1 large - (6 g)
Figs, dried, 10 figs - (6 g)
Almonds, dried, 1 oz - (6 g)
Sunflower seeds, dry roasted, 1 oz - (6 g)
Bread 2 slices (~ 6 g)
Coconut milk 1 cup - (5 g)
Peaches, dried, 10 peaches - (5 g)
Pasta 1 cup - (~ 5 g)
Cashews, dry roasted, 1 oz - (4 g)
Hazelnuts, filberts, dried, 1 oz - (4 g)
Avocado 1 medium - (4 g)
Raisins 2/3 cup - (3.4 g)
Corn, yellow, boiled, 1/2 cup - ( 3 g)
Brussels sprouts, boiled, 1/2 cup - (2 g)
Broccoli, boiled, 1/2 cup - (2 g)
Macadamia nuts, dried, 1 oz - (2 g)
Pecans, dry roasted, 1 oz - (2 g)
Sesame seeds 1 tbsp - (2 g)
Cantaloupe, raw, 1 cup - (1.4 g)
Apricots, dried, 10 apricots - (1.3 g)
Green beans, boiled, 1/2 cup - (1 g)
Kale, boiled, 1/2 cup - (1 g)
Carrots, raw, 1 medium - (1 g)
Banana 1 medium - (1 g)
Orange 1 medium - (1 g)
Kiwi 1 medium - (1 g)



Sources:

American Dietetic Association: Complete Food And Nutrition Guide (2nd Edition)
Roberta Larson Duyff, MS, RD, FADA, CFCS

Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and More
Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, MPH

University of Maryland Medical Center - umm.edu

Linus Pauling Institute - oregonstate.edu

Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
High protein foods that contain
all 9 essential amino acids
include: meat, poultry, fish, eggs,
milk, cheese, yogurt, and soy.  
Protein sources that contain all 9
essential amino acids are also
refered to as "complete" proteins.


What is Protein?
Proteins are sequenced
combinations of 20 amino acids.  
9 of those amino acids are
considered essential because
they are necessary for the body,
but the body can't make them.
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