Protein provides your body with the nutrients needed to grow, to preserve lean mass (such as muscle), and to build and repair tissues. Protein is composed of 20 various amino acids, and protein-rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. Animal-based proteins contain all of the nine essential amino acids (essential = necessary for us to consume because our bodies cannot produce them). However, you can also receive these essential amino acids by consuming a variety of plant protein sources such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy, as well as grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Although fats provide the highest amount of calories per gram, they are not to be feared! Fats provide our bodies with a long-lasting source of energy, protect our organs, assist in the production of our hormones, and aid in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. Unsaturated fats are most beneficial for our bodies, and can be found in avocados, nuts and nut butters, seeds, olives, and oils, as well as fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna). Saturated fats should be consumed in limited quantities (<10% of total daily calories), and are typically found in beef, lamb, pork, poultry (with skin), lard, cream, butter, cheese, and dairy.
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