Protein is essential to our bodies as it is a powerful macronutrient. It’s present in all living organisms and contains compounds like enzymes, antibodies and hormones. Protein is found in muscle, bone, skin, hair and almost every other tissue in the body.
Protein is made from more than twenty basic building blocks called amino acids and nine of these have to be sourced from food. It plays a vital role in our body and does most of the work within the cells - repairing and making new cells and is responsible for growth and development. Protein is responsible for the structure or shape, function and regulation of all our organs. It plays an important role in boosting metabolism and burning calories.
What are the Best Sources of Protein?
Plants can produce all amino acids they need but animals can’t despite the fact that they are essential for life. Humans obtain their requirements principally from meat, milk and eggs. However, legumes like lentils, beans and peas are also a rich source of protein. Attention should be paid to ensure consumption of a variety of plant based proteins as most are incomplete (missing one or more amino acids), to ensure we get the protein we require on a daily basis.
Are you Getting Enough Protein?
Many people will get enough protein from a balanced, healthy diet but some may benefit from increasing their intake. This includes those people who are very active and need it to ensure muscle mass is not compromised, those who wish to build muscle, those with poor diet, those in training for events - pre or post workout and vegans.
A convenient way to boost protein intake might be to supplement the diet with complete, naturally sweetened whey protein, or plant based protein like pea and hemp powders. Dairy-free meal replacement protein shakes are an ideal way to manage a weight loss, or maintenance programme.