Protein makes up the building blocks of organs, muscles, skin, hormones, and pretty much everything that matters in your body. Protein is what we get from meat (among other sources) and it’s where we get the ‘amino acids’ our bodies need. Amino acids are used when repairing skin and bone and for building muscle but they come in a range of different shapes and sizes.
To grow as much muscle as possible, the recommendation is that we get around 1 gram of protein for every one pound of body-weight! Of course, this advice is aimed at bodybuilders and athletes and wouldn’t apply to the Average Joe… but it shows what a key role protein plays in our body composition. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men but everyone is different depending on body weight and activity level.
What’s also important to bear in mind is that there is more than one ‘type’ of amino acid. Actually, there are currently thought to be 20 amino acids, with nine essential amino acids. If you don’t get all of these amino acids from your diet, then certain important repair jobs around your body will not get carried out.
Seeing as most sources of protein only contain certain combinations of amino acids, it’s generally important to make sure your diet contains a variety of different types of wild fish, eggs, and grass-fed meat. (One of the only ‘complete’ sources for amino acids is the egg!)
Foods containing all nine of these amino acids are called complete proteins.
Some of these complete proteins include:
These complete proteins are essential to our overall health, which is why they are comprised of the essential amino acids. Our bodies need all nine of these essential amino acids for basic health; since our bodies cannot make them naturally, we must get them from other sources.
Keep in mind that protein is essential for satiety; it holds off hunger better than any other macronutrient, and protein-rich foods are highly satiating.