Proteins are often referred to as the building blocks of life.
They are made up of long chains of amino acids that can be broken down and reassembled in millions of different ways, to create different types of proteins and build different types of cells—each with its own unique purpose.
Most of the amino acids that the body requires, can be produced by the body itself. However, a small group called “essential” amino acids must be supplied by the foods we eat, with the best source of these essential amino acids being from animal protein. You can however still get the same benefits from plant-based protein.
Why do we need protein?
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It also makes up most of our hair and nail structure.
In regard to our muscles, our bodies use protein to both build and repair tissues. Thus by consuming protein in the right amount, we can ensure that we are getting the results we deserve, to help achieve a lean and toned physique, combined with the correct exercise of course.
Protein along with carbohydrates and fats are macronutrients, meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals are different and are required in smaller quantities, making them micronutrients.
Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein thus it has no reserve to draw on when it needs a new supply.
It is therefore really important that we consume the right amount of protein to not only enable our body to function but also to allow our bodies muscles to grow and repair.
Are you getting enough protein?
To help you calculate the amount of protein that your body requires, specific to your activity type and weight, use the Optimum Nutrition Protein Calculator: