How to increase protein absorption from food

The body absorbs a higher percentage of protein from cooked eggs than from raw eggs.

Photo: Timolina / Shutterstock

Protein is an essential nutrient that is important for the health of the body and that we need to obtain from the diet. The body can only absorb a limited amount of protein, not all food sources of protein are created equal, and there are several factors that affect its absorption.

To know how to increase protein absorption, you must first understand how proteins are made, digested, and absorbed.

The Harvard Nutrition Source explains that protein is made of more than twenty basic building blocks called amino acids. The human body produces them from scratch or by modifying others. There are nine essential amino acids that the body needs to obtain from food..

Foods of animal origin are considered good sources of complete proteins since they provide the necessary essential amino acids, while plant-based foods are often lacking in one or more essential amino acids. Vegetable sources of complete protein, such as soybeans, quinoa and chia, are few.

Protein digestion begins as soon as we chew food to break it down into small pieces. The gastric juices in the stomach then break down the protein into even smaller pieces, creating a mixture that passes into the small intestine, where most of the digestion takes place.

Enzymes in the pancreas break down proteins into amino acids or peptides, which are chains of amino acids. Amino acids are released from the small intestine and carried into the bloodstream and the liver, which synthesizes them to create new proteins. or sends them around the body for other cells to use.

How to increase protein absorption from food

1. Chew slowly

Chewing food better helps break down food optimally.

2. Consume proteins with greater digestibility

Live Strong shares that animal proteins like milk, eggs and meat have the highest digestibility rate. Plant protein like wheat gluten and soy protein isolateThey also have higher digestibility.

Cooking foods also makes proteins easier to digest, such as eggs. The body is able to absorb 90% of the protein found in cooked eggs compared to only 50% in raw eggs.

Chicken breast is one of the richest foods in protein.

3. Combine the proteins

Combining legumes with cereals provides a higher quality protein. “Which means that the body needs less protein to meet its protein needs and improves nutrition,” says the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

An example of a perfect pairing is beans with brown rice.

4. Consume probiotics and prebiotics

The consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes and other foods rich in fiber, in addition to probiotics, contribute to better intestinal health and improve the digestion and absorption of nutrients such as proteins.

5. Eat smaller amounts more often

Eating smaller amounts of protein more often can improve its absorption.

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