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Protein rich foods: benefits and how to increase absorption

Protein rich foods: benefits and how to increase absorption

Protein is a large molecule made up of amino acids (small molecules). Protein has a structural role in the body being important for building and repairing muscles, forming cells, tissues, some hormones, and other body structures.

The body uses the amino acids of the proteins we ingest to perform its functions.

Protein types

  • Animal protein: it has all the essential amino acids that the body needs
  • Protein types

Animal protein: it has all the essential amino acids that the body needs

Vegetable protein: has a lower biological value, lacking some amino acids

In addition, the body digests and absorbs proteins of animal origin better than vegetables.

  • A high biological value protein provides adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids, that is, amino acids that our body needs to acquire through food, since the body does not produce
  • Foods rich in animal protein
  • Chicken meat
  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Grilled Salmon
  • Hake
  • Egg


  • Milk
  • Foods rich in vegetable protein
  • Soy
  • Quinoa
  • Buckwheat
  • Millhete
  • Lentils
  • Tofu
  • Beans


Cooked rice

The advantage of co To eat foods rich in these proteins is that we consume in only 1 food all the limiting amino acids in the body. Animal feed (beef, chicken, fish, eggs, milk) contains proteins of high biological value.

Normally, a variety of foods, even if they do not contain animal foods rich in essential amino acids, may contain levels by combining foods that provide the limiting amino acids that the body does not produce. It is the case of vegetarians and vegans, they seek the combination of foods (grains, vegetables, cereals and fruits) in order to maintain the balance and the intake of these amino acids. A diet low in amino acids can lead to low immunity, malaise, loss of muscle mass, and other implications.

Intake of protein for weight loss

  • For lean muscle and protein definition, source foods for protein and carbohydrates should be eaten throughout the day.
  • Protein can be eaten in the three main meals:

Breakfast (milk, yogurt and lean cheeses)

lunch and dinner (lean meats, skinless chicken, fish grilled or baked, and eggs).

Thus the individual absorbs protein throughout the day not overloading a single meal.

Daily requirement of protein

According to the latest RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowances) recommended daily intake of protein for individuals is 0.8g / kg body weight / day. In other words, an individual with 65 kg should ingest 52 g day. With this ingestion, most normal individuals would be excluded from exhibiting any kind of protein deficiency provided they following a balanced diet. This amount is very easy to reach, due to the eating habits of Brazilians rich in meat, eggs, beans, milk, etc. However, due to the higher protein requirement presented by athletes, the duration and intensity of the effort, as well as the type, amount and time of ingestion of the nutrients (mainly proteins and carbohydrates). According to

American Dietetic Association,

protein requirements are higher in very active individuals (athletes with daily training and competitions), and can reach the recommendation of up to 35% of calories from protein. However, protein absorption is limited by the body.

Some studies show that the maximum intake that will be used by the muscle is 20 to 25g of protein per meal. If at each meal the individual consumes 2 steaks of grilled chicken will already be consuming approximately 50 to 60g of protein. Excess protein or amino acids are not stored in the body, so a hyperprotection diet can lead to fat accumulation and renal overload as the end products of protein metabolism (urea and ammonia) are filtered in the kidneys. The recommended intake of protein for athletes ranges from 1.1 to 1.4 g / kg / day, that is, approximately 38 to 75% above the RDA and for endurance athletes (bodybuilders) it is 1, 8g per kg, and with that amount the protein synthesis increases but when the intake is greater than 2.4g per kg, no difference is found.

For individuals wishing to increase lean mass, protein, in addition to being ingested during the day and also after the workouts, since during exercise the muscle fibers are broken and need to be replaced.

Absorption and digestion

Protein foods have different digestibility degrees that may imply a greater d time and absorption. When we speak of physical activity practitioners we need high digestibility proteins in order to regain muscle mass in the shortest possible time.

When we talk about healthy weight loss, the digestibility factor refers only to gastric discomfort (fullness, ) that some types of food can generate.

The body digests and absorbs animal proteins better than vegetables. Animal proteins have 90-95% digestibility, while that of the rice and bean combination, for example, is 80%. The presence of tannins, trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinins or lecithins leads to a decrease in the digestibility of leguminous proteins.


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