It’s a bit of a buzz word now. High protein foods are now everywhere. And they should be because protein is so important. Especially for women.

Why is protein so important in the body?

Protein are chains of amino acids that are essential for the human body. There are 20 amino acids of your body but 9 of which are essential. These are phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine. They are called ‘essential’ because your body doesn’t make them which is why you need to eat them.

Protein is predominately needed for growth and maintenance but it’s also required for the production of our hormones.

Insulin, melatonin, thyroxine, cortisol, testosterone and oestrogen are primarily made from protein. Insulin is required to regulate our blood sugar levels. Melatonin is our sleep hormone. It comes from the pineal glands and rises naturally as we get ready for bed. Thyroxine is our thyroid hormone which governs our bodies’ metabolism. Testosterone is our ‘desire’ hormone. It can also make us feel charged and motivated. And oestrogen plays an essential role in our menstrual cycle by secreting FSH and LH to regulate our cycle so we can reproduce.

If you are not eating enough protein you may not be producing adequate levels of these hormones.

How much protein do you need?

The RDA is roughly 1 gram of protein per kilo of body weight. So if you weight 60 kilos you need to eat 60 grams of protein per day.

Here are some protein sources from food:

Fish fillets, 3.5 oz 22 gms

Tuna, 6 oz can 40 gms

Chicken thigh 10 gms

Chicken breast, 3.5 oz 30 gms

Drumstick 11 gm

Egg, large 7 gm

Cottage cheese, . cup 15 gms

Pork chop, average 22 gms

Ham, 3 oz serving 19 gms

2 scoops of Whey Protein 20 gms

What else is protein needed for in the body?

Protein is required to make antibodies. These are immune molecules that bind to specific foreign particles, such as viruses and bacteria, to help protect the body.

Enzymes carry out almost all of the thousands of chemical reactions that take place in cells. They also assist with the formation of new molecules by reading the genetic information stored in DNA.

Protein is also required for transport proteins which carry atoms and small molecules within cells and throughout the body.

How do you know if you’re eating enough?

1) You have low energy and suffer from fatigue.

2) Food cravings.

3) Your muscles feel weak and you have poor workout recovery.

4) Thin hair and weak nails.

5) You feel anxious and moody.

Where can I get quality protein from?

Lots of places! The best sources are chicken, fish, lean meats, eggs, quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, spirulina and protein powders such as Free Soul Nutrition. You can use the code freesoulmissnutritionist to get 15% off!

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