Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in the body needs to function properly.
Proteins carry out a variety of functions, including:
*ensuring the growth and development of muscles, bones, hair, and skin
*forming antibodies, hormones, and other essential substances
*serving as a fuel source for cells and tissues when needed
A person can take in proteins through their diet. The following foods are good sources of protein:
*red meats (limit their use and choose lean cuts)
*poultry, including chicken and turkey
*fish and other seafood
*beans and legumes
*some grains, including quinoa
Although meats and fish tend to contain the highest levels of protein, vegans and vegetarians can get enough protein from various plant products.
How Much Protein does a person need?
Protein is an important part of every diet. The amount of protein an individual needs depends on their age and sex.
Protein is a part of every cell in the body. It helps the body to build and repair cells and tissues. Protein is a major component of the skin, muscle, bone, organs, hair, and nails.
What is protein?
Protein is one of three macronutrients, which are nutrients the body needs in larger amounts. The other macronutrients are fat and carbohydrates.
Protein is made up of long chains of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. The specific order of amino acids determines the structure and function of each protein.
The 20 amino acids that the body uses to create protein are:
There are nine essential amino acids that the human body does not synthesize, so they must come from the diet.
Proteins are known as complete or incomplete. Complete proteins are proteins that contain all essential amino acids. Animal products, soy, and quinoa are complete proteins.
Incomplete proteins are proteins that do not contain all essential amino acids. Most plant foods are incomplete proteins, including beans, nuts, and grains.
But you can combine incomplete protein sources to create a meal that provides all essential amino acids. Examples include rice and beans, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread.
What does protein do in the body?
Protein is present in every body cell, and an adequate protein intake is important for keeping the muscles, bones, and tissues healthy.
Protein plays a role in many bodily processes, including:
*immune system responses
Protein is important for growth and development, especially during
childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
Sources of protein
A healthful eating pattern includes a variety of foods containing protein. Both animal and plant foods can be excellent sources of protein, as previously listed above.
Plus dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, also contain protein. Whole grains and vegetables contain some protein, but generally less than other sources.
Those following a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet may need to plan their meals to ensure they meet their protein needs.
The following healthful, plant-based foods have a high-protein content per serving:
*Beans with Rice
To know whether a food is high or low in protein check the nutritional information label.
Foods that have 5% or less of a persons daily value (DV) are considered low in protein. Foods with 20% DV or more are considered high in protein.
A person doesn't need to eat foods containing all essential amino acids in every meal because their bodies uses amino acids from recent meals to form complete proteins. Eating a variety of protein foods throughout the day is the best way for a person to meet their daily protein needs.
How much protein does a person need?
It is recommend that adults consume 50 grams (g) of protein a day, as part of a 2,000-calorie diet. A person’s daily value may be higher or lower depending on their calorie intake.
Age Protein Recommended daily Allowance(RDA)
child aged 1–3 13 g
child aged 4–8 19 g
child aged 9–13 34 g
female teen aged 14–18 46 g
male teen aged 14–18 52 g
female adult aged 19+ 46 g
male adult aged 19+ 56 g
Many factors can affect how much protein a person needs, including their activity level, weight, height, and whether they are pregnant.
Protein and calories
Protein is a source of calories. Generally, protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. Fats contain 9 calories per gram.
The recommend allowance is that of between 10–35% of an adult’s daily calories should come from protein.
Proteins and weight loss.
Some diets recommend eating more protein in order to lose weight, more research needs to be done to establish how to implement such a diet effectively.
When increasing protein intake, it is important to make sure that the diet still contains adequate amounts of fibre, such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
Replacing processed foods and sources of unhealthful fats or sugar in the diet with protein can promote a healthful diet.
Protein deficiency can arise if a person has a health condition, including:
*eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa
*certain genetic conditions
*advanced stages of cancer
*difficulty absorbing nutrients due to a health issue such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastric bypass
Very low protein intake can lead to:
*weak muscle tone
*edema or swelling due to fluid retention
*thin, brittle hair
*in adults, a loss of muscle mass
*in children, growth deficits
Tips for getting enough protein
For most people, a varied and healthful diet will provide enough protein. For the best health benefits, people can get their protein from a variety of sources. These include fish, meat, soy, beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds.
Protein is an important part of every diet.