The Wonders of Protein

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

Why are proteins important?

Your organs, tissues, muscles and hormones are all made from proteins. Proteins are used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly, from our skin and hair to our digestive enzymes and immune system antibodies. Proteins are constantly being broken down and must be replaced. Therefore, it’s important to consume high protein foods every day in each meal.

What are proteins?

Proteins are long chains of amino acids, which are essential molecules for all metabolic processes. The body can make some amino acids on its own and relies on food to obtain “essential” amino acids.

What happens when you consume too little protein?

Eating a wide range of foods high in protein is important to prevent the risk of deficiencies in certain amino acids. If you struggle with the following, it may mean you’re not consuming

sufficient protein:

  • low energy

  • mood swings

  • anxiety

  • irregular blood sugar levels

  • weight issues

  • trouble building muscle mass

  • poor sleep

  • low immunity

  • trouble concentrating or “brain fog”

  • slow wound healing

  • flatulence

  • constipation

  • a sluggish metabolism

Is too much protein bad for you?

Some say to avoid intakes of more than twice the recommended intake as this can have detrimental effects on bones and kidneys, but the evidence isn't conclusive.

What are the recommended intake (RI) levels?

The RI of protein is 0.75g of protein per kg of body weight per day. To calculate your average daily amount of protein required, multiply your body weight in kg by 0.75. The approximate RI of protein for someone weighing 63kg (10 stone) is 50g of protein per day.

But everyone is different

The RI is designed to meet the minimum requirements of the body and aren't necessarily optimal for all of us. Higher protein intakes can be helpful for individuals training regularly or those who want to lose weight as protein can help a person stay fuller for longer.

Sources of protein

  • Organic grass-fed meat

  • Wild-caught seafood

  • Organic free-range eggs

  • Dairy

  • Organic free-range poultry

Sources for vegans

  • Peas

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Lentils

  • Quinoa

  • Chickpeas

  • Beans

Vary these as much as possible and try and avoid processed sources as these can lead to health issues. Also, do not swap complex carbohydrates for protein as this can lead to constipation due to the lack of fibre.

Here are some recipes that are rich in protein.

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BANT Registered Nutritionist,  

Registered Nutritional Therapist CNHC & Health Coaches Academy Certified Health Coach

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© 2016 by Michelle Boehm