Protein what is it and why do you need it?

From hair to fingernails, protein is a major functional and structural component of all our cells.  Protein provides the body with roughly 10 – 15 per cent of its dietary energy and is needed for growth and repair.

Protein are large molecules made up of long chains of amino acid subunits.  Some of these amino acids are nutritionally essential as they cannot be made or stored within the body and so must come from our foods in our daily diet.

Although animal and plant cells contain some protein, the amount and qulaity of this protein can vary widely.

Protein from animal sources has the full range of essential amino acids needed for an adults’ diet, but red meat in particular, should be eaten in limited amounts due to the high levels of saturated fat it has. (see our blog ‘what is fat anyway’ for information on types of fats.)

A high intake of saturated fat can lead to an increased risk of cardiocascular disease and other reated disorders.  As an alternative source of animal protein, choose poultry, fish and shellfish.

fish is a good source of animal protein.  Oil-rich fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, trout and sardines, are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which help to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Vegetarians rely on plant sources for their daily protein.  Plants don’t contain the full range of essential amino acids and so are not as high in nutritional value as animal protein.  But by eating a well-balanced diet that contains a variety of different foods, it is possible to consume the need amino acids regardless of the time of day they’re eaten and what combinations within a meal.

Foods such as nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, vegetable protein goods and soya products, all contain protein.  There are also small amounts in grains and dairy products.

If you can, choose to eat low-fat protein foods as these will help to; keep your heart healthy, keep your cholesterol low, minimise the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other related disorders.

Here is a lost of foods, with protein, fat and saturated fat content per 100g; hope it helps!

Almonds                                21.0g                                55.8                         4.4

Salmon                                  20.2g                                 11.0g                       1.9g

Beef (lean)                           23.0g                                9.3g                           3.8g

Prawns (peeled)               10.5g                             7.5g                           1.1g

Pork (lean)                         21.4g                             4.0g                          1.4g

Eggs (1)                                8.1g                                7.0g                          2.0g

Chicken Breast (no skin)  30.1g                          4.5g                           1.3g

Turkey Breast (no skin)  29.9g                           3.2g                          1.0g

Cod Fillet                               19.4g                           0.7g                         0.1g

Lentils (cooked)                 7.6g                             0.4g                         0

If you are concerned that you need more protein and are not able to, for whatever reason, plan your diet around this, G&G can help boost your diet with our Certified Organic Essential Food – a wonderful blend of proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals so important to your diet.


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