In a bid to understand the basics, we spoke to Vallari Shah, nutritionist and dietician and here’s what she had to say:
Body’s protein requirement
Proteins are made up of 20 amino acids, of which nine are considered essential. The body cannot make them and, therefore, they need to be sourced from the food we eat. The other 12 are classed as ‘non-essential’ and can be produced within your body. High-quality proteins such as eggs and meat offer more muscle-building amino acids than other protein foods and are, therefore, considered more valuable protein sources.
Our body’s protein requirement varies depending on the activity or the sport we play. Individuals who are into endurance sports such as marathons, swimming and gymnastics require a daily protein intake of 1.2-1.5g per kg of body weight. Whereas, activities like hockey, cricket, basketball, football, volleyball,and boxing require a higher daily protein intake of 1.4-1.8g per kg of body weight.
Sources of proteins
Chicken: Chicken consists of high-quality protein. Around 100g of chicken breast contains about 30g approx. of protein, that is, 70 per cent of daily value, which is one of the highest sources of protein you can get from food. It also contains the nine types of essential amino acids for protein synthesis that our body cannot make.
Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein. A medium sized egg contains about 6.5gm of protein.
Fish and seafood: Fish is a good source of protein and even contains iron and Vitamin B12. Some are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts: Apart from being a good source of protein, they are also low in saturated fats and contain Vitamin E and other anti-oxidants.
Legumes: Beans, lentils and soybeans form a great source of plant or vegan proteins