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  • Writer's pictureRoslyn Bazzelle

Protein - The Building Block of Life

Updated: Jan 21, 2019

Protein. We hear this word everywhere we go. High in protein. Low in protein. Protein shakes. Protein bars. Protein diet. But, what really is protein and why do we need it?

At a cellular level, you need protein in your diet to help your body build, maintain, and repair cells and body tissue. Imagine you've cut yourself: proteins help with tissue repair and the development of blood (and your body's ability to clot the blood). Proteins execute a host of activities within the body, such as: cell transport, storing energy, build and contract muscles, and create hormones. Proteins are also important for growth and development during childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy because it helps build skin, hair, nails, and cartilage.

Eating protein is essential to maintain a healthy body, not just at the cellular level. For instance, protein provides energy for the body and this prevents us from becoming fatigued. When you exercise, feeling fatigued is a sign that you've reached your max and your body needs to recover. Having enough protein in your body helps you push past your existing limits and develop more muscle. Additionally, protein helps the body fight off illness and disease by keeping the immune system functioning properly.

Protein is commonly found in animal products such as:

  • eggs

  • milk

  • cheese

  • lean beef

  • white meat poultry (think chicken and pork)

  • fish

  • Greek yogurt

Protein can also be found in these non-so-common non-animal products:

  • beans

  • avocado

  • quinoa

  • soy

  • peas

  • edamame

  • chia seeds

  • nuts

  • leafy greens

It is important to note that the body does not store protein, so it is important to consume protein-rich foods every day.

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