Amongst the different classes of food, one that is extremely important is protein!! Besides water and fat, the human body is almost entirely made up of protein. While your body may survive without carbohydrates, your body will be seriously compromised without protein.
Protein is essential for good body composition and optimal health! Protein is the main component of the organs, muscles, bones, skin, hair, nails, etc. You need it to make new skin, hair, nails, blood, connective tissues, antibodies, enzymes, and so forth. You need it to repair and make new cells generally. Protein is also very vital for hormone balance.
When you eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids, which are then used to help your body with various processes such as building muscles, building and repairing cells, regulating hormones, regulating immune function, and many other important processes.
Amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of proteins, are compounds that play very critical roles in the human body. Your body needs about 20 different amino acids to function properly. Of these twenty, nine are classified as essential. The reason is that they can’t be made by your body and must be obtained through your diet.
The best source of protein is animal proteins, as they provide all essential amino acids in the right ratio. The body also absorbs them better and is able to make full use of them, as animal tissues are similar to human tissues. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, and eggs are complete protein sources for humans.
Although I always recommend replacing milk with unsweetened greek yogurt, a lot of people have lactose intolerance, which may result in bloating and inflammation whenever milk is consumed. That’s not something you want if you are trying to lose weight and be healthy.
The RDA(Recommended Dietary Allowance) for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 75kg should consume 60g of protein per day. However, as you start getting close to middle age, to prevent losing muscle mass(sarcopenia), you can increase your protein intake to about 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight. Athletes, people who regularly lift heavy weights, and pregnant women also require more protein.
But then, while a lot of people assume the gram to be the whole meat or fish, for instance, it’s not so.
Animal protein is usually made up of water, fat, and protein. So you will need to know the amount of protein in your fish or meat to properly calculate. This can be very tricky. So rather than bother yourself with calculations, my general recommendation is to have animal protein daily. If you are eating animal products like meat, fish, eggs, or dairy daily, you are most likely getting enough protein.
So do well to always have some form of animal protein daily. Remember to focus on lean proteins with very little fat. Also try to trim off visible fat from your protein before cooking.
By Coach Jacinta Ufoma of Profound Nutrition and Wellness.