A new study has shown that consuming protein (both the right kinds and in the right amount) can lead to a longer lifespan. Getting the Best Protein in Your Diet can lead to a healthier lifestyle and its surprising how much we need in our daily lives.
The study, published in the December 3 edition of Nature, manipulated the diet of female fruit flies. They fed the flies yeast, sugar and water but with differing amounts of vitamins, lipids and amino acids.
The researchers found that both longevity and fertility are affected by the amino acids, but not by the other nutrients. One amino acid in particular, methionine, was crucial for lengthening lifespan without compromising fertility.
Protein and Amino Acids
Protein is necessary for growth and cell production and repair, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The body gets protein from 20 amino acids, nine of which are essential because the body cannot produce them on its own, so they must come from food.
Complete and Incomplete Proteins
Foods that contain all the essential amino acids are known as complete proteins. They include animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products.
Soybeans are the only plant food that is a complete protein. Other plant foods that contain protein include beans, peas, nuts, seeds and grains. These are known as incomplete proteins because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids. However, they can be a complete protein source when combined together, such as rice and beans.
Getting the best protein in your diet and in the right amounts
- Include a source of protein with every meal and snack: this could mean an egg with your breakfast, toast and peanut butter for a snack, or almonds with fruit in the afternoon.
- Aim for a variety of protein sources throughout the week. If you choose lots of vegetarian protein options, such as beans, nuts and seeds, this will ensure you’re getting a variety of amino acids, not just the same ones all the time.
- Combine vegetarian sources of protein so you get complete proteins at each meal, such as peanut butter and whole grain bread.
- Add beans to your diet. They are not only a great source of protein but also full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Also, they’re low in fat, which is not the case with many animal sources of protein.
- Eat red meat, chicken and fish in small portions, and cook them in a healthy way. Choose grilling or roasting over frying.
In addition to extending your life, this eating pattern could also give you more energy and help you lose weight. What are you doing to ensure you are getting the best protein in your diet?