Protein In Diet: Importance & Foods To Incorporate

Consuming a sufficient amount of protein daily is important for maintaining muscle mass, supporting weight management, and promoting overall health.

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: May 01, 2023 10:00 IST
Protein In Diet: Importance & Foods To Incorporate

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Protein is an essential nutrient required by the human body for the growth, repair, and maintenance of tissues. It is found in a variety of foods such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy, legumes, and grains. It is necessary to consume a sufficient amount of protein daily to support a healthy body.

Why is Protein Important?

Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the human body. These amino acids are used to build and repair muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues. They are also used to create enzymes, hormones, and other molecules that are necessary for the body's proper functioning.

Protein is also an important source of energy for the body. When carbohydrates and fats are not available, the body will use protein as a source of energy. However, this is not an efficient process and can lead to muscle breakdown if protein intake is inadequate.

Protein is also important for weight management. It helps to increase feelings of fullness and satiety, which can prevent overeating and promote weight loss. Additionally, protein has a high thermic effect, which means that the body burns more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbohydrates or fats.

Importance Of Protein In Diet Must Have Foods

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Must-Have Protein Foods

1. Lean Meats

Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and lean beef are excellent sources of high-quality protein. They are also low in fat and calories, making them ideal for weight management.

2. Fish

Fish is a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are particularly high in omega-3s.

3. Eggs 

Eggs are a versatile and affordable source of protein. They also contain other important nutrients like vitamin D and choline.

4. Dairy 

Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are rich in protein and calcium, which is important for bone health.

5. Legumes

Legumes like beans, lentils, and chickpeas are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They are also high in fibre and other important nutrients like iron and magnesium.

6. Nuts and Seeds

 Nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, and chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fats. They are also high in fibre and other important nutrients like vitamin E and magnesium.

Importance Of Protein In Diet Must Have Foods

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How Much Protein Do You Need?

The amount of protein you need depends on several factors, including your age, sex, weight, and activity level. In general, adults should aim for at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. However, athletes and people who engage in intense physical activity may need more.

It is also important to spread your protein intake throughout the day, rather than consuming it all in one meal. This can help to maximise muscle protein synthesis and improve body composition.

Bottomline

Protein is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in the functioning of the human body. Consuming a sufficient amount of protein daily is important for maintaining muscle mass, supporting weight management, and promoting overall health. By incorporating lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and nuts into your diet, you can ensure that you are getting enough protein to support your body's needs.

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