Why should you eat protein? 4 Oct
Last time we looked into carbohydrates, how they’re essential for a balanced diet, and how they’re such a great energy source.
Much like carbohydrate, you need protein for a healthy and balanced diet. It is essential for your body’s growth and repair and helps provide another energy source, in addition to fats and carbohydrates. Protein helps the fundamental structure of the cells in your body, as well as the elements of every cell.
The amount of protein needed during your life will change depending on your age, whether you’re pregnant or injured etc. Protein contains different kinds of amino acids and can be from animal or plant sources, both are as important as the other, as they offer different amino acids. Foods such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products are good animal-based sources of protein.
Foods do vary in the amount of protein that they have. Foods with the highest amounts of protein are different meats or meat products followed by cereal and cereal products, and milk and milk products. Vegans and vegetarians can get the amino acids they need through consuming a considerable variety of different plant sources, such as pulses, grains, tofu etc. These sources of protein offer the same quality of amino acids as animal-based, often just in smaller amounts gram for gram.
How much protein should you eat?
Base all your protein requirements on personal need, but guidelines for adults estimate an average requirement of 0.6g of protein per kilogram body weight per day. Guidelines approximately state 56g/day and 45g/day for men and women aged 19-50 years, respectively. There are additional requirements for protein intake for infants, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. For more information on this, please click on the links below.
Usually, in a meal, you will have a plant-based source of protein such as wholegrain bread, rice, pasta beans etc. Meat products tend to contain a fuller range of amino acids. Protein-rich foods also tend to fill you up better than carbohydrates and fats; this can help with weight loss in some instances.
How can you add protein to your diet?
- Eggs are a great way to get your protein in the morning! Switch out your cereal for some eggs and wholegrain toast to get your protein and carbohydrates for the day.
- Almonds are also great to sprinkle on top of a salad for extra protein!
- Chicken, turkey breast or salmon are all amazing meats that will spice up a salad and increase your protein intake!