07 Feb Protein – What You Need To Know
Protein forms a crucial part of our diet and it is one of three nutrients that we need to remain healthy.
Protein consists of long chains of chemicals known as amino acids and these can then be classed into two groups – non-essential amino acids, which are made by the body, and essential amino acids, which come from your diet only.
Why do we need protein?
Proteins are used to grow and maintain the body.
They make up collagen that is found in the skin, they help to repair muscle as well as make antibodies to fight viruses.
However, the long chains are broken down and so, they need to be replaced every day.
How much protein should we consume?
The general rule is that adults should eat 0.75g of protein for every Kilogram of bodyweight per day.
In contrast to this, if you are someone who wants to increase their muscle mass then it is possible to add extra protein to the diet using supplements such as protein shakes.
If you do have specific goals and require more protein then it could be worth speaking to a professional nutritionist.
Where can protein be found?
There are nine essential amino acids and all can be found in fish, meat and dairy.
These are proteins that are animal derived and are called complete proteins.
There are some proteins that are high in fat such as red meat and so it is not advised that you eat red meat more than twice a week.
This means that lean meat like chicken, fish and low fat dairy products are the best source of animal-derived protein.
Animal products are full of protein and this list shows how many grams of protein can be found in these foods:
- Beef steak (lean, grilled): 31g
- Salmon (grilled): 24.2g
- Eggs: 12.5g
- Chicken breast (grilled without skin): 32g
Protein can be found in some plants with some containing all nine essential amino acids.
Therefore, you should try adding soya beans, millet, quinoa, avocado and chlorella to your diet.
However, there are plants that contain only some essential amino acids and are called incomplete proteins.
Those plants that do contain protein will contain less protein per 100g when compared to animal products.
If you are someone who eats animal products then there is every possibility that you have enough protein in your diet.
If you are a vegetarian or a vegan then choosing to eat plant based proteins in combination will ensure your body receives all of the amino acids.
So, you should consider eating whole grains with pulses and so you could have brown rice with chickpea curry or quinoa salad with puy lentils.
Dairy products such as cheese or yoghurt can be consumed with peas and lentils such as baked beans with grated cheese or lentil dahl with natural yoghurt.
Despite the body needing protein, it is unable to store it.
This will mean that you should consume small amounts of protein in every meal or through having a protein-rich snack.