Proteins are referred to as the essential building blocks of the body. Proteins are made of a collection of amino acids known as 'chains' and can take a variety of forms including bones, nails, teeth, skin, teeth, muscles and the general components of every cell in our body. We're often told about the importance of 'amino acids' and how some are classed as 'essential' and others as 'non-essential', but what actually are amino acids and what do these terms mean?
What are amino acids?
As we've established, all our muscles and cells are made up of a collection of amino acids and they support a variety of day to day functions of the body including the delivery and storage of important nutrients in and around the body. Amino acids also play a part in the operation of your arteries, organs, glands and tendons and are essential in helping the body repair wounds and damaged tissue, which is why protein is considered important after exercise. Amino acids can be grouped into 2 different categories:
1. Essential amino acids
2. Non-essential amino acids
What are essential amino acids?
Essential amino acids are referred to as 'essential' due to the fact that your body is unable to produce them itself meaning they must be obtained from high protein foods and drinks. Not all foods and drinks contain all of the essential amino acids and a focus should be placed on foods such as red meat, poultry, dairy, beans and pulses as they are high quality protein foods. Essential amino acids include valine, threonine, leucine, lysine, isoleucine, methionine, phenyalanine, and tryptophan.
What are non-essential amino acids?
Unlike the essential amino acids, non-essential amino acids can be produced naturally in the body which is why they are categorised as 'non-essential'. Non- essential amino acids are as equally as important as essential amino acids in supporting the functioning of the body and support greater energy, strength, mental and physical health. Non-essential amino acids include alanine, cysteine, glycine, serine, histidine, tyrosine, cystine, proline, arginine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and glutamine.
The protein digestion process
The digestion of protein starts in the stomach where they are broken down. This digestion then continues in the small intestines where these essential and non-essential amino acids are then transported into the blood stream as they get absorbed. These amino acids are then carried around the body to your muscles, organs, tendons and cells in your blood.
The important benefits of amino acids and protein
Proteins are essential for the growth and maintenance of all types of cells in the body as we talked about. Muscle development, the growth of your hair and nails along with the healing of wounds all require protein to be carried out effectively. Proteins also help promote a healthier metabolic and physiological environment and keep your immune system strong and healthy. Fat and Carbohydrates are utilised as the body's primary source of energy but in situations where these nutrients are not available your body may opt to use protein as its source of fuel. It is therefore important to ensure you have a regular supply of high quality protein in your diet to keep your protein stores topped up so your body can continue to carry out its essential functions.
Incorporating our drinks into your diet
Our nutritious and delicious drinks have been designed to keep you strong and active whatever you're doing. It's often difficult to find a good protein source when you're on the go, at your desk or after the gym so by ensuring you have one of our shakes you'll never have this problem again. Our drinks can be used at any time of the day including in between meals as a healthy snack, with meals to increase its protein content or after exercise to help your body recover more effectively. Shake up your health with protein.