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Food for Thought: The Relationship Between Oral Health and Nutrition

Course Number: 583

Protein: Lean is Best

Proteins are found in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and almost all body tissues and are responsible for growth, maintenance, and repair. Protein is built from building blocks called amino acids, which is considered a complete protein. Since our bodies cannot synthesize complete proteins, they must be obtained by the foods we eat. Only two foods are considered complete proteins, containing all essential amino acids: a whole egg and quinoa, a gluten-free starchy seed. Both protein sources have an estimated biological value of 100. Other good sources of protein include low-fat dairy, beef, poultry, fish, brown rice and peanuts.11

Vegetarian eating practices continue to grow in acceptance, with lacto-ovo-vegetarian, consuming mainly plants and incorporating dairy and eggs while omitting meat, poultry and fish, is the most widely followed.33

The protein package, whether from an animal or plant source, is something to consider. Choosing the leanest animal protein source is best, consider; top round steak or flank beef, bison, buffalo, egg whites, seafood, and poultry (skinless breast). Good sources of plant protein include; peas, beans and grains, which are also a great source of fiber, needed to regulate body processes, stabilize blood glucose levels, and reduce cholesterol.11

Processed meats, such as ham, salami, bacon and sausage, provide a lower quality protein with high levels of sodium and fat. Research studies indicate eating processed meat increases the risk of heart disease by 43% and diabetes by 19%.11

Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects. Two billion people worldwide eat insects as part of their daily diet.11 Insects are an excellent source of protein and contain fewer calories and fat than traditional animal protein. Grasshoppers are the most consumed insect worldwide and are equal in protein to ground beef. There are more than 1,900 edible insects globally safe for consumption.11

Eating healthy proteins is essential to overall health. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of protein is dependent on an individual’s assessment of body size and physical activity level. It is estimated to be between 40 to 65 grams per day. To calculate your protein requirement, use the formula below;

________lb./2.2 = _______kg

_______kg x 0.8 = ________g of protein/day