Protein is used by the body for building, repairing and maintaining tissues. Proteins are part of every cell, tissue, and organ in our bodies.
The body’s structural components, such as skin, muscles, bones, and organs, are made up in large part by protein. Many hormones and enzymes that function to regulate body processes and chemical reactions are made of protein. Protein is also used to make antibodies to fight disease
Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids needed by the body. Eight of these amino acids are considered essential because they are not able to be created by the body. Therefore, they must be obtain through our diet.
The cells in our bodies are constantly being repaired and replaced, thus using protein. The body is unable to store protein and so therefore it requires a daily supply of the amino acids to create new proteins. Therefore, protein makes up an important part of our daily food intake.
What Are the Different Types of Protein in the Diet?
There are different types of protein in our diet — complete and incomplete proteins.
A complete, or high quality protein, contains all eight of the essential amino acids in the amounts needed by the body. Foods rich in high-quality protein come from animal sources and so include meats, milk and other dairy products, and eggs. Foods made from soy, such as tofu and tempeh, are also high quality sources.
Ideally, approximately 75% of the protein that we consume should be high quality protein.
Dried beans and peas, grains, nuts and seeds also contain protein, although the protein in these plant based foods may be low in one or more essential amino acids. Therefore, they are known as incomplete proteins.
However, by combining any two types of incomplete plant based proteins, you are able to create a complete, high quality one. For example, a peanut butter sandwich combines grain protein from the bread with nut protein from the peanut butter to yield a complete protein.
Symptoms of insufficient protein intake:
· Loss of muscle mass that can cause physical weakness
· A weakened immune system
· Low mood
· Some individuals may even experience aggression
Top sources of protein:
· Beef – 56g (based on 8 oz steak)
· Chicken breast – 30g per breast
· Turkey – 28g per breast
· Fish – 22g per fillet
· Eggs – 6g
· Milk – 8g per 250ml
· Tofu – 20g per ½ cup
· Soya milk – 8g per ½ cup
· Kidney beans – 8g per ½ cup
· Chick peas & lentils 9g per ½ cup
· Almonds – 7g per ½ cup
· Quinoa – 14g per 100g serving
Recommended protein intake
It is suggested that the average adult consumes around 50 grams of protein per day. However, if you would prefer a more accurate way of measuring, you can calculate your required intake using the calculations below:
Body weight (kgs) x 0.8 or
Body weight (lbs) x 0.37
What is your current diet like at the moment, and what are your goals?