Proteins are large molecules comprising strings of amino acids which are vital for every living being. They are a structural component of human tissue and our bodies and cells require them to function.

Being part of our skin, bone and muscles, it’s not surprising that they account for about 20% of our body weight. They are often described in terms of machines or engines as they form part of our cells that make us function. In terms of diet, they form part of the three macronutrients that we all need; the others being fat and carbohydrates.

How Much Do We Need?

Many variables can impact on the amount of protein a human body requires to function well.

Age, gender, weight, muscle mass, whether you exercise and a person’s health being among the key ones.

However, 1lb of protein per 1 Kg of body weight is sometimes used as a rough guide to minimum protein requirements

Why do we need to eat it?

While the human body is perfectly capable of producing certain amino acids, there are many essential ones which can only be acquired though eating.

Animal and Plant Proteins
Protein can be gained from eating animal products and vegetables/pulses. But there is a difference. Humans are animals so it’s logical that when we eat other animal proteins we get all the amino acids we need to create protein.  Vegetable or pulse proteins are usually seen as incomplete proteins and lacking some of these essential amino acids which is why vegetarians or vegans are encouraged to eat a wide variety because as a  group they can encompass all essential amino acids.

Key High Protein Foods

Beef – steak fillets being the largest source per gram

Chicken – chicken breast conventionally being the most protein rich

Turkey – ditto turkey breast

Fish – most fish are good source of protein but especially salmon and tuna

Pork – tenderloin usually seen as the most protein rich

Diary – eggs, yoghurt, milk and all cheeses are protein sources

Beans/Soy –all beans, plus tofu, soymilk and split peas

Nuts and seeds – all good non animal sources of protein