Are you getting enough protein?

18th February 2016 - 3 minutes read

Protein is the building block of our body. As well as being essential for growth and the repair of body tissue, protein is used by the body to make hormones, enzymes, antibodies and neurotransmitters, and helps transport substances around the body. When protein is consumed it is broken down in the stomach to smaller parts called amino acids. Although the body is capable of synthesising almost half of amino acids (we call these nonessential) from other amino acids, the other half of the amino acids is body unable to synthesize an thus must be obtained from food. These we call essential.

 

Functions of protein in the body:

  • growth and maintenance of all body tissue such as muscles, hair, nails
  • synthesis of enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters
  • healthy immune function – synthesis of white blood cells, antibodies
  • carrier in the blood
  • fluid balance
  • ph levels
  • energy production
  • detoxification
  • balancing blood sugar levels
  • memory and concentration

 

When you should be concern you may be low in protein:

  • low energy
  • poor posture and muscle tone
  • dry, peeling skin
  • hair loss
  • brittle nails
  • irritability
  • anaemia
  • increased susceptibility to infection
  • muscle wasting
  • oedema around ankles, fingers
  • low blood pressure
  • poor digestion
  • anaemia
  • reduced liver detoxification
  • food sensitivities or allergies, Celiac disease
  • poor memory and concentration

 

What are good sources of protein

animal protein such as red meat, chicken, turkey, duck, wild meat such as rabbit or venison fish, eggs, cheese, milk

plant protein such as tofu, tempeh, quinoa, beans, lentils, peas, broad beans, edamame beans, chickpeas, brown rice, nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, chia, hemp or pumpkin seeds, avocado, mushrooms

 

While animal protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all amino acids, vegetarians and vegans have to mix different plant sources together to provide the body with all the essential amino acids.

 

How much of protein shall I be eating

The research suggests around 0.9g of protein per 1kg of body weight in moderate physically active person, which means around 54g of protein for a woman at 60 kg of weight.

An example of daily intake of 54g:

2 scrambled eggs, 1.5 of chicken breast plus vegetable salad for lunch, 1 fillet of salmon stir-fry for dinner, handful of nuts and seeds for snack

or buckwheat porridge with nuts and seeds, quinoa and bean salad for lunch, tempeh (fermented tofu) stir fry for dinner, with some humous and crudités for snack (for vegetarians)