What Is Protein and What Do Proteins Do for Your Body?

what-is-protein-and-health-benefitsEverybody knows that taking in protein is crucial for a healthy nutrition. But what exactly protein is? What does protein do? What is a good source of protein?

From the following post, you will find the answers to these questions.


What are proteins?

As you probably know they are built up from amino acids, exactly from 20 various amino acids. When you consume foods that contain proteins, your body breaks them up into amino acids since that is the way it can use them for various purposes.

The amino acids are not only generated by protein catabolism, but also your body produces them. However, there are eight essential amino acids that your body cannot produce. Therefore, you need to consume foods that contain these amino acids.

Complete and Partially Proteins

There are also 2 types of protein sources depending on if they contain all the essential amino acids in the right amount or not.

The complete protein sources have all of them in a proper amount, so they are the most beneficial ones. They are from animals such as meats, milk and other dairy products, eggs. However, soy and products made from it like tofu are also complete ones.

The partially complete sources contain all the essential amino acids, but they do not contain enough of one or more. Typically, the plant sources are in this foods group, but by combining them we can get a complete protein source.

For example:

If you eat beans (nuts) with grains (peanut butter sandwich) or dairy and grains (cereal and milk).

A video in case you need more scientific info.


Why is protein important?

It is usually called the “building blocks of life.” That is true since it is a nutrient that is required to build the cells, but it also takes part in almost all body processes. The role of protein in the body is wide.

  • It is required for genes and cells production and reproduction.
  • It is the building block of all the muscles of the body and the connective tissues such as the tendons.
  • They are required for enzymes as well as hormones.
  • It is needed for generating scar tissue to repair any body damage.
  • They are building blocks of antibodies that fight infections (bacteria, viruses).
  • It is also needed for the skeleton.

We should also mention that it helps to lose weight as well since it increases the metabolism of the body. Your body requires much energy to break it down into amino acids, and that leads to calorie burning.

How much protein do you need daily?

For an average human being, the recommended daily intake is 0.8 gram per kilogram or 0.6 gram per pounds. So, if you are about 155 pounds, you need approximately 93 grams per day.

On the other hand, that depends on your lifestyle.

If you do hard physical work, or you want to build muscles by working out, then you obviously need more. For example, for bodybuilding it is 1-1.6 grams/lb or for dieting you need 0.35 – 1.0g/lb.

From the following chart, you can learn the recommended daily protein intake for various purposes.

Source: bodybuilding.com


Foods that are high in protein

Previously we were talking about the complete protein foods, and these are the various meats and diary, but that does not mean you should only consume those.

Eating legumes and vegetables are vital as well since they are high in beneficial carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fiber. So, their health benefits are numerous

Protein powder is popular these days, and there are superb products out there. However, that does not mean you can neglect the natural sources. Have powder as an extra and take in much of your daily dose from real food.

From the presentation below you can learn food that are high in protein.



Any side effects?

I have read some articles about that having too much of it may lead to kidney and bone problems, but I have not found any real research if these statements are true or not.

If you eat real food, then it is hard to take in an enormous amount of it daily, since protein rich foods satisfied you faster and longer.

The powder is another question. If your only source of protein is powder, then you are not on a healthy diet, and that undoubtedly leads to health problems.


Now you know what is protein good for and what it is. Most of us focus on the daily carbs and fat intake, but we pay less attention to protein. However, it is as important. If you want to be healthy, lose weight, build muscle, then do not forget about this nutrient.

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