Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and lest you’ve forgotten, protein is crucial to the human body for growth and maintenance – according to LIVESTRONG ‘other than water, proteins are the most abundant type of chemical in the human body. Proteins play many vital roles, including providing structure and strength to cells and tissues, controlling biochemical reactions and aiding the immune system. Metabolism is regulated by proteins, as are hormones and the various activities they control. Proteins also regulate cell division, which acts to replenish aged or damaged cells to ensure a constant supply of healthy cells.’
Which brings us back to the building blocks: there are 22 specific amino acids needed to build protein, but only 13 of these are produced by the body, the remaining nine (histidine, lysine, threonine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, phenylalanine and tryptophan) we can only get from the foods we eat, and that food source can be either plant-based (an incomplete source of protein) or animal-based (a complete source of protein). Because plants are an incomplete protein, it requires combining different plant groups to ensure the 9 amino acids are all included, whereas when choosing animal-based food, all 9 are automatically included in a single serving.
Not only is choosing red meat simpler, but it’s also healthier for you, because the protein inherent in red meat is of a higher quality than plant-based foods, and it’s easier for your body to digest. When you swallow that first bite of steak, a process called hydrolysis begins – digestive enzymes break the links that hold the long chains of amino acids together, once free your body absorbs the different amino acids into your blood stream and sends them to all the necessary cells. At cellular level, the amino acids are then mixed and matched to build whatever protein that specific cell needs to function optimally. In addition, the protein found in red meat also makes it easier for your body to absorb iron and zinc.
And there you have it: yet another compelling reason to include red meat in your diet. So for the sake of cellular health and happiness, go ahead and enjoy a juicy-grilled-to-perfection-steak for dinner tonight – you’re welcome.