Protein is the primary component of muscles, hair, nails, skin, eyes, and internal organs, especially the heart and brain. Proteins make up hemoglobin, antibodies, enzymes, neurotransmitters and many hormones like thyroid hormone and insulin. The functions of protein also include communication, information processing and cell signalling.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They are divided into essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are those that the body cannot make and must take in through diet or supplement. Non-essential amino acids are those that the body can make and are therefore not essential to consume. Your body uses the amino acids to build and repair the various parts of your body. Since the muscles contain lots of protein, it is essential to replenish that protein through your diet.
Although most people link the word protein with red meat, there are many other ways that we can get protein. Nuts, lentils, quinoa, seeds, chickpeas and beans are all excellent sources of protein and also provide the body with fibre. Only plant based foods contain fibre so it’s a good idea to eat foods that have both fibre and protein together.