You may already know that protein helps build muscle. However, according to an article on Healthline, you may not be familiar with the other important roles protein plays in the body. Protein has multiple functions: it supports the immune system, plays a role in carrying oxygen to the lungs (via hemoglobin), and promotes satiety, among other things. While it’s possible to get too much protein, making sure you get enough is crucial. This is especially true of certain building blocks of protein called amino acids that cannot be made by the body and have to be derived from food or supplements. Your body uses these essential amino acids as well as non-essential amino acids (which can be produced by the body) to construct its own protein molecules. A protein source is categorized as complete if it has all nine essential amino acids in the right proportions, and incomplete if it doesn’t. If you need more protein in your diet, here are some examples of good food sources to get your started:
- Complete proteins. These include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, soy, and quinoa.
- Incomplete proteins. These include peanut butter, whole grains, and beans (other than soy beans). Combine incomplete proteins, like rice and beans, to get all of the essential amino acids.