Protein is one of the three key macronutrients and an essential component of every cell in the body. Made of 22 ‘building blocks’ called amino acids bonded together to form protein’s structure, proteins have different functions in the body, including contributing to a growth in muscle mass, and contributing to the maintenance of muscle and normal bones.
All these functions are very important to for your body to function at its best, which is why an adequate amount of daily dietary protein is needed to help keep you healthy.
AM I GETTING ENOUGH?
If your protein intake is not meeting your nutritional needs, you will likely find it more difficult to sustain a balanced diet and reach your goals, which is why the Herbalife Nutrition Philosophy recommends getting 15-30% of your daily calorie intake from protein.
During exercise, your body requires a higher intake of good quality protein to build and maintain muscle (lean mass), and promote recovery, so make sure you adjust your protein needs accordingly; consuming more if you are highly active or want to gain lean muscle. For example, if you’re an active male who consumes up to 2,000 kcals per day and is looking to build muscle, you should aim for up to 150g protein in your daily diet. For a woman who wants to control her weight and consumes up to 1,400 kcals per day, her recommended daily intake would be between 52-105g protein.
SO WHAT SHOULD I EAT?
Ideally, a combination of both animal and vegetable protein sources each day. High quality animal sources include lean white meat, fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat dairy products, which provide the additional benefits of iron, zinc and B vitamins. These are deemed ‘complete’ proteins as they contain all the essential amino acids.
Another ‘complete’ protein (particularly relevant for vegetarians) is soy protein. As other vegetable protein sources such as nuts, seeds and lentils (which are also low in fat and cholesterol, and a source of fibre) are not ‘complete proteins’, you are advised to combine a number of vegetable proteins to provide a better proportion of all 9 essential amino acids.