As I move towards wrapping up this series this week, I need to discuss a couple of other topics of relevance to the question of what are good sources of protein. A good bit of what’s been discussed in other sections was a bit on the theoretical/sciency end of things and I’m going to keep the next couple of topics a lot more applied.
Today I want to look at an issue that I don’t think is addressed as much as it could be when folks are looking at protein source; that topic is the presence (or absence) of other nutrients. Outside of a few select groups (that often get a majority of their protein from isolated sources such as protein powders or amino acids), most people get their daily protein from whole food sources and whole foods contain other nutrients. Some of those nutrients may be beneficial, some of them may be detrimental; all need to be considered when looking at protein sources and deciding which are good, bad, or neutral.
The major ‘extra’ nutrients I want to look at in this article are zinc, iron, B12, calcium. In the next part of this article series, I’ll take a look at the issue of dietary fat content, both in terms of good and bad fats. This is simply to keep the length a bit more manageable.
Zinc is an essential mineral involved in an amazing number of processes in the body including immune system function, appetite (a lot of early research showed that zinc deficiency did weird things to appetite, zinc has been shown to regulate leptin levels as well) and hormone levels (zinc deficiency can reduce testosterone levels). Since the body doesn’t store zinc, its intake is required on a daily basis.