What is protein?
Protein is one of the three nutrients found in food that the body requires in large amounts. Along with carbohydrates and fat, protein is essential for the human body. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of cells in the body.
1. Muscle Recovery
If we have a low protein intake, our body struggles to build and repair muscle tissue, which can lead to fatigue and a lack of energy. Especially when exercising, good protein is crucial for muscle recovery and will reduce aches the next day.
Protein is harder to digest, and has a thermic effect on the body. This means 25 to 30 out of 100 calories of protein get burned in the process of digesting it, as our bodies are working harder to process the food. Protein also prevents highs and lows in sugar, known as insulin surges. When blood sugar is balanced, our bodies are able to burn fat steadily all day, which will help with weight management.
3. The Immune System
Having protein in our diet is essential for our immune system. Immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, make up our immune system, and attack viruses, bacteria or other foreign substances in our bodies. Proteins play a key role in supporting antibodies, and therefore a lack of protein can lead to one becoming ill more often.
How much protein do I need? And how do I get it?
The recommended daily intake of protein for an adult is 50g of protein, and this halves to 25g for a child under age 10. This can vary depending on weight and lifestyle, however, 50g is a good benchmark for the average adult. Protein can come in form of vegetables like broccoli or spinach, grains, meat, fish, nuts or beans.