The importance of Protein in your diet
Remove the water from your body and protein accounts for a large percentage of what’s left. Your hair, skin, muscle, bone and almost every other body part or tissue is made up of protein.
The foods we eat for protein can be described in two ways:
Complete protein – These are foods which contain all nine amino acids that you need in your diet. All meat and other animal products are sources of complete proteins. These include meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk, and milk products.
Incomplete protein – These are foods that are low in protein or contain only some of the nine amino acids you need in your diet. Vegetable protein is usually considered incomplete because it is missing one or more essential amino acids. However, as long as you eat a variety of foods throughout the day, it’s easy to still get all nine amino acids without eating animal products.
What is protein for?
It is used to build new tissue, which is why there is an increased need for protein during periods of growth such as in infancy, childhood, adolescence and pregnancy.
Protein is broken down from what we eat to smaller building blocks called amino acids. There are essential amino acids that we must get from our diet, and there are non-essential amino acids that our bodies can make. These amino acids are then used by the body to make up and facilitate a multitude of chemical reactions, body functions, enzymes, and tissue repair to help us maintain health.
Protein-containing foods include fish, meat, poultry, cheese and milk products, beans (lima, kidney etc), tofu, nuts, and seeds. Some proteins have a better dietary quality than others. For example, even though they both contain protein, fish has a better quality of protein than corn.
Here are some of the things protein does:
- Provides the structure for muscles, hair and blood
- Repairs worn-out body tissue proteins resulting from general “wear and tear” to the body
- Supplies emergency energy when there is not enough carbohydrate or fat in your diet
- Helps transport important nutrients such as iron and cholesterol around your body
- Enhances your immune system Builds cardiac (heart) muscle Contributes to numerous essential body secretions such as hormones and enzymes.
- Can assist with weight loss as protein is very satiating and by eating protein at the same time as carbohydrates, you slow down the spike in glucose and insulin that comes after eating carbohydrates on their own.
Eat quality protein frequently during the day to assist with weight loss and a healthy body. It’s important to include a protein portion with each meal that we have, so that our protein levels can be maintained for optimum maintenance.
Common Protein rich foods (Non Veg)
Common Protein rich foods (Veg)
- Peanut Butter
- Kidney beans
- Greek Yogurt
- Chick Peas
Common Protein rich snacks
- Roasted peas
“There is no sincere love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw