The Importance of Protein in Your Diet

Protein is a macronutrient, meaning it provides energy for the body. It also helps build and repair muscle, skin, hair, and nails.


Protein comes from both plant and animal sources. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy are all excellent sources of protein.

What is Protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient that your body needs to maintain healthy muscle and bone. It also supports your immune system, keeps you feeling full, and helps your body process fats and other nutrients.

Protein comes from different sources, including meat, poultry, fish, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, and dairy products. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get 10% to 35% of their calories from protein.

Meat and other proteins are important because they provide all the amino acids your body needs to function properly. These amino acids are a key part of many chemical reactions that occur within the body.

A diet rich in protein can help you feel full, which may lead to a reduced intake of calories at subsequent meals. It can also help your body build and repair muscle.

The amount of protein your body needs depends on a number of factors, including your age, sex, and whether you are an athlete or sedentary. For example, a sedentary person needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day.

If you exercise regularly, your need is higher. People who do aerobic activity or strength training need 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

Your body can’t store excess protein, so if you eat more than you need, it will turn it into fat or be used for energy during low carbohydrate periods. You should consult a dietitian about your individual protein needs.

The most common source of protein is meat and poultry, followed by seafood. Other protein foods include beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products. Getting enough protein can help you lose weight, improve muscle mass, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Protein Sources

Protein is the foundation of every cell in your body, and it plays a role in promoting growth and muscle mass, aiding in recovery after exercise or illness, and helping you feel full. It’s essential to consume adequate amounts of protein on a daily basis.

There are many different types of proteins, including animal and plant-based sources. Ideally, you’ll get 10 to 35 percent of your calories from protein in each meal or snack.

The protein you choose depends on your preferences and lifestyle. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may want to incorporate more soy and other protein-rich foods like quinoa and tofu into your diet.

For those who love meat, you can easily increase your protein intake by adding chicken, turkey, beef, fish, or other meat to your meals. However, you should be aware of the health risks associated with high-protein diets, particularly with regards to bone health and cardiovascular disease.

When choosing a protein, you’ll want to consider its quality and digestibility. In general, animal-based proteins are considered of higher quality because they contain more essential amino acids than plant-based protein sources.

Similarly, plant-based proteins, like soy, are usually of lower quality because they lack certain essential amino acids. They also tend to have a lower digestibility than animal-based proteins, which can affect how well you absorb the nutrients from them.

If you’re concerned about protein intake, consult with a registered dietitian to determine your needs and recommend the right protein-packed foods for you. Protein-rich snacks and meals are great ways to keep you feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. This is especially important if you’re trying to lose weight or control your appetite.


Meat and poultry are a good source of protein, which is essential for growth and development. They also contain a variety of other nutrients that your body needs, including iodine, iron, zinc and vitamin B12.

Meat can be very healthy for you when it is part of a well-balanced diet. Choose lean meats and avoid processed meats. If you do eat meat, make sure it is grass-fed or organic and that you trim off any visible fat before cooking. You can also lower the saturated fat content of meat by roasting or broiling it instead of frying it.

A healthy diet should be low in red and processed meat and high in vegetables, fruit, fish and dairy products. These foods are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which help to reduce the risk of certain diseases.

However, eating a lot of red meat can increase your risk of bowel (colorectal) cancer. The Department of Health and Social Care advises that you should not eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red or processed meat per day, equivalent to about 3 thinly cut slices of beef, lamb or pork.

To minimise your risk of bowel (colorectal) diseases, it is important to cut down on the amount of red and processed meat you consume. If you do eat red or processed meat, it is best to choose the leanest cuts and cut off any visible fat before cooking.

Meat, including beef, lamb, and veal, is an excellent source of protein, but it is also high in saturated fat and contains a lot of cholesterol. This can lead to heart disease and other chronic conditions, so it is important to limit your intake.


Dairy products are nutrient-dense foods that provide protein, calcium, vitamin D, potassium and other key nutrients that your body needs. They also contain nutrients that can help reduce your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Dairy is a group of food that includes milk and dairy foods such as cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. They are a great source of calcium, protein and vitamins, but can be high in fat. Soya milk and other unsweetened calcium-fortified dairy alternatives are also part of this group.

Many people enjoy drinking and eating dairy as part of a healthy diet. However, some people may struggle with lactose intolerance, which means they cannot digest the sugar in milk. They may experience symptoms such as stomach bloating, cramps and pain in their intestines.

For people with lactose intolerance, there are alternatives to regular dairy such as low-fat or non-dairy milk and cheese. These are a good choice as they contain fewer calories, less fat and more protein than full-fat dairy.

While full-fat dairy is a great source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals, it can cause health issues such as weight gain or cardiovascular disease in some people. This is because it is often high in saturated fat.

Fortunately, the latest nutrition guidelines recommend most people consume at least three servings of dairy per day to reap the benefits. This is particularly important for children. Including milk and other dairy foods in their diets helps to build strong bones, reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and ensure that they get all the essential vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy future.


Vegetables are a great way to add protein to your diet. They are rich in nutrients and a good source of fibre, so they will fill you up and keep your appetite satisfied. They also help your body build and maintain muscle mass, boost your energy levels, and keep your heart healthy.

Some vegetables are more protein-rich than others, however. For example, a cup of raw sliced beets has 2.2 grams of protein. Similarly, a half-cup of dry roasted edamame contains around 2 grams of protein.

Other veggies that are high in protein include brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli, and carrots. They’re a great way to increase your protein intake, whether you’re an athlete or someone who wants to add more plant-based meals to your diet.

Another vegetable that’s a great source of protein is avocados, which contain about 5 grams of protein per medium-sized avocado. They’re also a good source of fiber and nutrients like vitamin B6, folate, iron, and potassium.

Edamame is another protein-rich vegetable that can be found in the snack aisle at the grocery store, near the nuts and in single serving packs. It’s a good source of dietary fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants that may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Pinto beans, which are a staple of Mexican cuisine, are another vegetable that’s high in protein. One boiled cup of these green beans contains about 16 grams of protein and is low in fat and cholesterol. They’re also a good source for vitamins and minerals, including potassium and magnesium. These beans are a good choice for those with diabetes because they can help regulate blood sugar levels. They can also improve your lipid profile by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.