Proteins are complicated molecules formed from building blocks called amino acids. There are approximately 22 different kinds of amino acids that can combine to form billions of types of proteins. Your body can make 13 of the 22 kinds of amino acids. The rest are essential nutrients that the body’s unable to manufacture and must receive from the diet. You need protein to make new tissue, to grow, and to maintain and repair tissues. If you don’t get enough protein, it results in stunted growth and impairment of your body’s ability to heal itself. However, most people in the U-S and other western countries consume way over the daily recommendation of protein, which can hurt your health. When you eat more protein than your body needs to make and repair tissue, it requires more work to digest and metabolize than carbohydrates and fats. That means your digestive system is using up valuable energy that could be available for healing. In addition, animal protein contains nitrogen, which produces residues while metabolizing that are highly toxic and must be eliminated by the liver and kidney and can irritate the immune system, as well. Excess protein also can lead to bones being demineralized, which can cause diseases such as osteoporosis. The best sources of protein for the most efficient and growth and maintenance of the body are any unrefined grains, legumes, nonfat dairy products, and egg whites.