Around one fifth of your body weight consists of Protein.
It is needed for:
• Growth, repair and maintenance of body tissues
• Manufacturing hormones and enzymes involved in many body processes
• Producing antibodies for the immune system
• Helping digestion and absorption of food
• Maximising transport of oxygen to the body cells
• As a source of energy when glycogen (a multibranched polysaccharide that is mostly made and stored in the liver and muscle) levels are low
• Providing structure for other tissues such as tendons, ligaments, organs, bones, hair, skin and nails.
Proteins are made up of smaller substances called Amino Acids, often called the ‘Building Blocks’ of protein.
There are over twenty naturally occurring Amino Acids, and while your body can make some of them for itself, eight of them can only be obtained from the diet so are called ‘Essential’
Dietary demand for protein is increased for:
• People in training for muscle growth, endurance or strength
• Low calorie diets
• Those with a high muscle-to-fat ratio
• Vegetarians and Vegans
Some sources of dietary protein include:
- lean meat, poultry and fish
- dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese
- seeds and nuts and pulses.
- beans and legumes (such as lentils and chickpeas)
- soy products like tofu
- some grain and cereal-based products are also sources of protein, but are generally not as high in protein as meat and meat alternative products.
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