What are proteins?
Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They’re used to make muscles, tendons, organs and skin. Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions. Without protein, life as we know it would not be possible.[i]
Why is protein important?
Proteins are small molecules called amino acid which are strung together like beads on a chain; like sausages linked together. Proteins are the nucleus of every cell in our body. They make our bodies what they are; they hold our bodies together and make them work.
How much protein do I need and where do I get it from?
The amount of protein our bodies need to function well, depends very much on our lifestyle. If I am a small frame and have a sedentary job, my body will need less proteins than a six-foot tall athlete. Expecting and nursing mothers also require extra proteins to help with the development of the fetus and the production of milk.
Sometimes, we are led to believe that we need large amounts of protein to keep us healthy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a minimum of 0.45 grams of protein per kilo of ideal body weight. The US recommended daily allowance sets a maximum of 0.8 grams per kilo of ideal body weight.
Calculate your ideal weight and multiply by 0.8 to work out how much protein your body needs.
Animal protein is found in meat, eggs, dairy, poultry and fish, whilst vegetable protein is found in legumes, cereals, grains, nuts and seeds. The myth that animal protein provides more nourishment is completely unfounded. Us vegetarians and vegans can lead a perfectly healthy life, as long as we eat a well-balanced diet.
When consumed in moderation, both animal and vegetable based protein benefit the body. However, with plant based protein comes the added benefit that it is free from cholesterol and saturated fat.
Check out the links below if you’d like to find out more about protein:
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