This article explains proteins, one of the essential macronutrients to fuel your success.
Have you ever gotten to the end of a hectic business day and realized in the busyness of it all that you didn’t manage to eat anything, never mind a proper meal? If you answered yes to this question, you are not alone. Many business owners and executives struggle to fit their nutritional needs in among the needs of the business they are successfully running day in and day out. However, have you stopped to consider how essential food can be in your success of running that business? Eating proper, healthy meals that fulfill your nutritional needs truly fuels your success, and that goes for more than business. If you were to look at your achievements currently, consider the things you could achieve when supplying your body and brain with extra fuel! In this article we explain protein, which is one of the 3 essential macronutrients to include in a healthy meal to fuel your success.
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients that our bodies need in larger amounts in order to function properly, which makes sense as macro means large. These nutrients provide us with the energy, in the form of calories, which our bodies need in order to maintain our systems and structures. The 3 major macronutrients that should be included in every healthy meal include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. In truth, all food contains all 3 macronutrients, however almost all food items contain a majority of just 1 of the 3 macros, which is why specific food items fall into a specific macro category. For example, an apple is highest in carbs, so it is therefore categorized as a carbohydrate.
What is a Protein?
A protein is a large complex macromolecule made up of hundreds of thousands of smaller units called amino acids attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined together to make a protein, and the sequence of these amino acids determines the protein’s unique 3-dimensional structure as well as its function. Amino acids are coded by combinations of three DNA building blocks called nucleotides, which are determined by the sequence of genes. These amino acids can be categorized into 2 types: non-essential and essential. Non-essential amino acids are not required to be consumed through our diet as our bodies can produce them. Essential amino acids must be consumed through food, and can be used on their own, or are otherwise transformed into a non-essential amino acid. Also, unlike the other 2 macronutrients, our bodies can’t store protein.
Why are Proteins Essential?
Proteins are essential for many processes in our bodies to maintain our health.1 They allow our bodies to grow, build, and repair tissue, and also protect our muscle mass. Proteins provide structure to our tissue, which includes cell membranes, organs, muscle, hair, skin, nails, bones, tendons, ligaments and blood plasma.
Proteins are also used for:
- DNA and genetic signalling
- Proper formation of blood
- Hemoglobin for oxygen transport
- Lipoproteins for cholesterol transport
- Production of digestive enzymes
- Antibodies and T cells for our immune system
- Energy and fat metabolism
- Emotions and Feelings
- Sensory receptors
Protein Rich Food Sources
As mentioned in the explanation of macronutrients above, foods that contain a majority of protein over the other 2 macros are placed in the “protein” category of foods.
Here are some healthy food choices that are considered protein rich:
- Cheese – ONLY cottage, swiss, mozzarella (low fat), parmesan (the kind you need to grate)
- Chlorella – form of algae
- Fish – meaty white varieties
- Milk – not skim
- Plain yogurt – with no added sweeteners
- Seeds – chia, flax, hemp, sunflower
- Spirulina – form of algae
Proteins – An Essential Fuel for Success
Looking at the list of functions above, there really aren’t many processes in our bodies that proteins aren’t needed for – they are truly “essential!” When your body, including your brain, is receiving this vital macronutrient, you are better equipped to face the important tasks, decisions, and challenges that you are confronted with in a day. We do our best to prepare in order to make sure we are set up for a successful day, so it may be time to consider if the food we are consuming to fuel our day should be incorporated into that preparation process!
Next up in our series on fueling yourself for success we explain the 2nd macronutrient, which is fat.
Download this resource Fueling Yourself for Success: Part 2 – Proteins.