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Eat Different Proteins for Different Problems

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 09/28/2023

Ever wondered why bodybuilders chug down protein shakes like there's no tomorrow? Or why does your doctor always insist on a nutritious diet with enough proteins?

You see, the power of protein is nothing short of magical. This mighty macronutrient doesn't just build muscles and make hair shiny; it plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function.

In this journey through our bodies' inner workings, we'll explore how different proteins - from steak to soybeans, fish to fava beans - offer unique benefits thanks to their distinct amino acid profiles.

And guess what? Even if you don't eat animal-based proteins, plenty of plant-based options exist to get all the essential amino acids your body needs.

So buckle up! You're about to discover how choosing wisely between animal-based and plant-based proteins could help optimize your health in ways you never imagined!

Sources of creatine

The Essential Role of Protein in the Body

Protein, a fundamental nutrient, is indispensable to our body's operation and design. It's hard to overstate protein’s importance, from building muscle to healing wounds.

The Function of Protein in Bodily Processes

Our bodies use protein for growth and repair. When we work out or get injured, protein helps rebuild tissues more robust than before. But that's not all; proteins also make up enzymes, which speed up chemical reactions within our cells.

In addition to these vital roles, they are critical in creating hormones like insulin and glucagon - regulating blood sugar levels. So when you enjoy your steak or lentils, remember – you’re fueling much more than just muscles.

Different Proteins, Different Amino Acid Profiles

All proteins aren't created equal, though. Their amino acid profiles can differ significantly depending on their source.

For instance, animal-based proteins usually contain all the essential amino acids humans need, while plant-based ones might need some combining to ensure a balanced intake. It’s like arranging puzzle pieces into a complete picture – every piece matters.

Animal-Based Proteins: A Complete Source

Animal-based proteins pack a powerful punch if you want to boost your protein intake. Animal-based proteins are complete because they provide our bodies with all nine essential amino acids we cannot produce.

The Advantage of Heme Iron in Animal Proteins

But it's not only the amino acids that make animal proteins stand out. The real game-changer is heme iron, found exclusively in animal products like meat and fish. Our bodies absorb heme iron more efficiently compared to non-heme iron from plant sources.

Studies have shown that consuming heme iron-rich foods, like lean meats or poultry, can help prevent anemia and promote overall health. So, if you want more bang for your nutritional buck, incorporating animal-based proteins into your diet might be the way to go.

A word of caution, though - while these benefits sound great, moderation is key. Overconsumption may lead to other health risks, so choose plant-based options.

Plant-Based Proteins: An Alternative Source

You might wonder, can plants give you all the protein your body needs? The response is a strong yes. But there's a bit of strategy involved.

Combining Plant Proteins for a Complete Amino Acid Profile

A common question about plant proteins is their ability to provide all essential amino acids. Fear not - mixing and matching different sources like beans or peanut butter gives you what's called 'complete' protein.

This clever pairing ensures you get all nine essential amino acids in one meal. So, no worries if steak isn't on the menu tonight.

The Dietary Fiber Advantage of Plant Proteins

Beyond just providing essential amino acids, plant-based proteins often come with a bonus - dietary fiber.

Dietary fiber promotes good digestive health and aids weight management, making us feel full faster. Who knew being healthy could also mean feeling satisfied?

Fish as a Unique Protein Source

When you think about protein, fish might not be the first food that pops into your mind. But let's swim against the current for a moment. Fish not only offers lean protein but also provides additional benefits.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Fish

The sea offers us more than just waves and beautiful views. It gives us fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Our bodies need heart-friendly fats but can't make them on their own.

Sure, there are other ways to get these healthy fats, like flaxseeds or walnuts. But none match the quantity found in fatty fish such as salmon.

Packed with these beneficial fats, regularly consuming fish can help keep your ticker ticking by reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. Not bad for a day's catch.

Red Meat

I don’t recommend consuming any processed meats. I recommend consuming organic grass-fed meat. Grass-fed red meat is not going to cause serious issues.


Understanding the benefits of consuming different proteins is a game-changer.

It helps you grasp why protein is more than just muscle food. It's essential for nearly every bodily function, from growth and repair to maintenance of tissues.

You've learned how animal-based proteins give us complete amino acid profiles and heme iron. But plant-based proteins have their charm, too, offering dietary fiber and can be combined for a balanced intake of essential amino acids.

Fish isn't left out either, with its rich omega-3 fatty acid content!

So experiment with various protein sources in your diet – it could boost your health significantly!

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