by Dr François Bouchard, D.C.
and Denise Fredette, N.D.


The proteins, amino acid chains present in the body, are the base of all forms of life. Every cell in your body contains proteins which are the basic components of your skin, hair, muscles and blood. Others act as enzymes, hormones or antibodies. 


What are proteins used for?


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  • To build muscles, which are vital for movement and agility as well as your heart’s function.
  • To provide the materials needed for growth (children and teens) as well as a healthy foetal development.
  • To help renew your hair, skin and nails every day and provide energy (1g = 4kcal). 
  • To repair muscle tissue after an injury or a surgical procedure.
  • To enable various biochemical reactions in your body. 
  • To defend your body against diseases. 
  • To produce breast milk.      

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A vital part of life...

An increasing number of studies show that proteins impact individuals mental well-being. As a matter of fact, appear not to be digested only in the stomach, but also in the small intestine, now recognized as producer of 95% of the body’s serotonin production, which is the main mood modulator in humans!​

Why are proteins so important?

Incapable of creating reserves, our body needs to obtain proteins through diet.

During digestion, plant base proteins (and those from animal sources) break down into smaller molecules called amino acids. 20 different amino acids are available to create proteins (different lengths and composition). However, some amino acids defined as essential cannot be produced by our body. It is therefore imperative to obtain them through food. (The 8 essential amino acids are: Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Tryptophan and Valine.)

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Where can we find proteins?

There is currently a wide range of plant base proteins: pulses, nuts, seeds are all sources of proteins when mixed with an important source of carbohydrates (pulses) or fats (nuts). Cereal products also contain a great amount of proteins and carbohydrates. We can also find proteins in various amounts in beans, such as soy, and other products such as dried tomatoes, etc.

We got used to believe that proteins are solely available through products of animal origin such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Actually, to be more precise, all plants contain proteins, but in variable proportions. For instance, among the fruits with the highest protein content, Goji berry comes first with 10g of proteins per 100g). We also find a small amount of protein in avocados, dates, etc. Even if plants offer really good proteins, when we are vegetarian or vegan, it is sometimes difficult to have access to the required amount of proteins everyday by simply eating cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetable, as the level of carbohydrates and fats become too high and may be difficult to digest. It is often helpful to add a protein supplement offering a high absorption level, or any product from Nature Zen to your daily diet as they are made with rice protein, assimilable at 98.5%. It brings both diversity and the right amount of amino acids your body needs to any diet. 

How much proteins should we eat daily?

Ideally, we see in the scientific literature that proteins should provide approximately 15 to 20% of the calories consumed daily. Another way to calculate our needs (g) is to multiply our weight (in kg) by 0.7. * For instance, a man weighting 75kg should eat approximately 64g of proteins per day. These needs are easily met if we eat meat, but it is not always easy as vegetarians. Hence, the importance of a high protein dietary supplement, like Nature Zen’s protein powder or bars.

*Important: this equation is only valid for those who have no protein deficiency, who exercise frequently and who have no metabolic problems pertaining to protein digestion (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, etc).

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Finally, for the proper metabolism of each protein, physical activity is crucial (moderate to intense, 3 to 5 times per week, for 20 to 45 minutes).

Without the adequate amount of exercise, protein concentration in blood will be high and will increase the kidney’s functions. Although it is normal for kidneys to be solicited when consuming proteins, it is important to also increase the daily water consumption. (Approx. 1L to 3L / day).

Wishing you the best on your quest to a healthy and balanced lifestyle! 

… more and more research now indicates that proteins play a part on our mental health!