- What are proteins?
- How much protein do we need in our diet?
- Which are the right combinations to good quality protein from the diet?
I will answer all of these questions and more on this blog post.
Proteins are large, complex molecules,
part of the macronutrients group.
Required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.
Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains.
Today we know of 22 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein.
9 of these amino acids are essential, meaning, the body cannot create them by itself, and we need to get them from the diet.
The sequence of amino acids determines the protein unique 3-dimensional structure and its specific function.
- Provide structure and support for cells.
- Building hormones and enzymes.
- Messenger proteins, coordinate biological processes between different cells, tissues, and organs.
They help with the transportation of materials in the blood.
- Build antibodies that bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body.
- A source for energy in the body.
All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, pulses(lentils, beans and peas), eggs, soy, nuts and seeds are considered part of the protein foods group.
Animal-based foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy foods) tend to be good sources of complete protein.
Plant-based foods (pulses, grains, nuts, and seeds) are great sources for proteins but often lack one or more essential amino acid. We can reach very good quality proteins from a plant-based diet by eating different types of food combinations for example- Pulses with whole grains, for example, brown rice with lentils, hummus with whole grain pita bread.
Pulses are unique, they have distinct health benefits, the pulses are low in fat and very high in protein and fibre.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 15% of the daily calories or 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
If you do endurance sports or weight training you may benefits from increase your protein intake.
Studies also suggest that as we get older we may benefit from eating more protein because it helps minimise the muscle loss associated with ageing.