Foods are usually pigeonholed into different categories according to their effects on the body.
One of them is that of “builders”, that is, foods that help the body to grow, develop and replenish itself. Find out here all its properties and what are the best options to add to the diet.
What are builder foods?
Builder foods are often called those that the body needs to grow, develop, increase defenses, increase muscle mass and reduce the impact of aging.
A common feature of these foods is that they are rich in protein, molecules that represent more than half of our body weight. Its main function is to repair and maintain tissues.
For this reason, including builder foods in the diet can bring different benefits:
- Build and repair the different tissues of the body.
- Stimulate the production of enzymes, hormones that drive chemical reactions in the body.
- Promote the growth of muscle mass.
- Promote the development of the embryo during the gestation period.
- Strengthen the immune system, through the production of white blood cells.
- Achieve proper growth during childhood and adolescence.
- Promote the healing or recovery of wounds, burns, or surgeries.
Building foods of animal origin
Specialists affirm that the proteins from building foods of animal origin are complete.
This means that they provide all the amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, and are essential for the formation and functioning of cells. Among the best options are:
Meats can be divided into two broad categories:
White meat is considered to be all that does not come from mammals, the most common being fish or poultry meat, such as chicken and turkey. However, rabbit meat is also often included in this category.
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This type of meat is characterized by being pink or whitish when raw, due to the fact that they have small proportions of myoglobin inside (less than 0.5%), a protein responsible for the movement of muscles. Its energy nutrients are:
- ProteinAlthough they are usually considered of lower quality than those present in red meat, they can equal or exceed them in quantity, reaching concentrations of 28%.
- Fats: depending on the cut and cooking method, they represent between 1 and 30%.
They also have iron, although in less quantity than red meat, phosphorus, potassium, iodine and zinc. Another difference from red meat is that they have a lower amount of a type of compound called purines, making them easier to digest.
The recommended consumption of white meat is around 300 g per day, two or three times a week. If this intake is exceeded for long periods there is a risk of liver and kidney problems.
Red meat is considered to be all that comes from mammals, the most common being pork, beef, or lamb.
They are characterized by being pink or reddish when raw, due to the fact that they have a higher proportion of myoglobin inside (more than 1%) than white meats. Its energy nutrients are:
- Protein: they offer amounts that vary between 15 and 25%, depending on the cut.
- Fats: depending on the cut and cooking method, they represent around 20%.
They also have significant amounts of iron, phosphorus, potassium, and various vitamins.
The recommended consumption of red meat is around 350 g per day, two or three times a week. If this intake is exceeded for prolonged periods there is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, joint problems, and kidney damage.
Eggs are foods that are characterized by being rich in protein, especially one called albumin (the white or white part of the egg). It also offers vitamins A, B, and D, and the 9 essential amino acids: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
In addition, it does not provide carbohydrates, gluten, or lactose, being suitable for people with diabetes, celiac disease and allergic or lactose intolerant.
The recommended consumption of eggs is two or three units a week.
Milk and its derivatives, such as cheese or yogurt, are foods with an important content of leucine and cysteine, two amino acids with antioxidant properties that promote growth.
Its consumption is also associated with greater physical strength, due to the increase in hormones that favors the development of muscle fiber.
The recommended consumption of milk is two or three glasses a day, cheese should be limited to 45 g per day (cured) and 75 g (fresh), while yogurt is between 200 and 250 g per day.
Building foods of plant origin
Although builder foods of animal origin are beneficial for health, they are characterized by being rich in saturated fat.
To balance this situation, the experts point out that the proteins that are ingested daily must also come from builder foods of plant origin.
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Although these are incomplete, it is necessary to combine them properly to obtain all the amino acids that the body needs, that provide other nutrients and that allow a sustainable and healthy diet.
Cereals are plants belonging to the Poaceae family, such as oats, barley, rye, spelled or wheat.
Consuming them regularly, especially during breakfast, will provide you with an important dose of protein that will help you increase muscle mass and balance the electrolytes lost during the development of physical activity.
The recommended consumption of cereals is approximately three or four handfuls a day.
Hazelnuts, peanuts or peanuts, chestnuts, walnuts (common, Pecan or Macadamia), pistachios, or cashews are nuts, that is, less than half of their composition is made up of water.
In addition to this characteristic, they share other traits, such as being energy foods, rich in healthy fats, vitamins and proteins.
The latter are key to stimulating muscle production and regeneration after exercise and increasing bone density.
The recommended consumption of nuts is between four or five servings per week (one serving is 60-80 g).
Legumes are the seeds of plants belonging to the legume family, that is, beans, peas, or chickpeas, among others.
These are characterized by being rich in proteins that favor the correct functioning of the central nervous system, and the development and repair of tissues.
The recommended consumption of legumes is between three or four weekly servings (one serving equals 60-80 g).
Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.