Many patients have asked me different questions about nutrition. I want to answer some of those questions and help you to understand value of right food which is a MEDICINE. In the next newsletter I will talk about this right food and the new book by Dr. Hyman.
In this newsletter I would like to answer some frequent questions that patients have asked me about proteins.
What are proteins?
Proteins are the building blocks of the body, we need proteins for the hormone production, for tissue repair, for production of antibody (main line of defense-immune system), for neurotransmitters and enzyme production.
Research has clearly shown that a poor intake of proteins will lead to a cascade of medical problems including an inadequately functioning immune system and hormonal imbalances.
What are the sources of proteins?
Protein found in animal and plant products, but only animal protein is the source of complete aminoacids- building blocks of protein. Protein from the plant sources is an incomplete protein, it lacks some aminoacids. Plant derived proteins are: legumes, beans, whole grains such as rice, wheat, wild rice, millet, soy, corn.
Examples of animal proteins are: meat, cheese, eggs, milk-dairy, chickens, turkey.
How is the protein utilized in the body?
Protein can not be utilized in the body without good quality digestive enzymes, fats and minerals. Some of the minerals are necessary for the proper function of the enzymes, they work as a catalysts for the majority of biochemical reactions. Proteins are digested in the stomach only if there is acidic environment, that is why production of hydrochloric acid (main source of acidity in the stomach) is so important. With age production of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes diminished, that is why digestion of protein may be impaired in older people.
Is soy a healthy source of protein?
Soy was treated by the media as a healthy source of protein, but it is not exactly true. Unfortunately, soy is the cheapest crop in the USA to grow, and most of it now is a GMO. Soy contains enzymes inhibitors that block the absorption of iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese. It inhibits thyroid gland function, can cause deficiency of vitamins B12, K, D, E. Fermented forms of soy (miso, natto, tempeh) are healthier, but it might be better to eliminate all forms of refined soy products from your diet.
Is red meat a healthy source of protein in the diet?
Red meat can be a good source of protein especially if it is grass–fed or wild game. The best source of red meat is organic, which is free of antibiotics and hormones. Red meat contains all aminoacids, many easily absorbed minerals and saturated fats. Saturated fats are necessary for the proper brain function (the major fat in the brain is saturated fat).
Red meat contains B vitamins such as B12, B2, B6. vitamins C and E are also found in the red meat, in addition red meat contains magnesium, zinc, selenium, iron.
Poultry such as chicken and turkey can be healthy sources of protein if they are from organic, free-range animals.
Are eggs a healthy source of protein?
Eggs are the perfect food. Eggs contain the complete complement of aminoacids, large amount of essential nutrients, choline and lutein. Organic, free-range eggs are fantastic source of an ideal balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. Free-range eggs have much better fatty acids profile then conventional eggs. I would recommend to use only free-range, organic eggs in your diet.
Are beans and lentils a healthy source of protein in the diet?
Beans and lentils are not complete proteins, but combined with some other proteins will provide complete source of aminoacids in the diet. Most common combinations are: rice and beans, trail mixes, nut butter on toast. Beans and lentils should be soaked before cooking to ease in digestion, minimize cooking time and gassing. Beans and lentils are inexpensive, contain iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
Is fish a healthy source of protein?
Fish is a very good source of protein, minerals and vitamins. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines has high content of Omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficent for the brain, eyes, heart, and connective tissues ( ligaments, muscles, joints, tendons). Fish should be free of mercury and PCB-two the most common contaminants. Children and pregnant women are more sensitive to those toxins. Wild-raised fish is the great choice for all. Many farm-raised fish not only have toxic items such as dyes and PCBs, but have altered fatty acids profile as compared to wild fish.
Is dairy a healthy source of protein?
Commercial dairy products contain traces of antibiotics and hormones given to the animals to increase milk production, that is why it is not desirable source of dairy. Organic forms of dairy (yogurt, kefir, butter) are the best forms of dairy and good sources of proteins.
Unfortunately, some people with allergy to penicillin and other antibiotics may react to the traces of antibiotics in the milk, so the best choice is to use only organic dairy products, especially local.
Please, feel free to call me with your questions.
I want to remind you that our office moved to Blue Bell and the new address is:
325 Sentry parkway Bldg 5 West, suite#200, Blue Bell, PA 19422.
Natalie Mitlyansky D.C., N.D.