Protein: An Essential Nutrient for the Body

The power of a protein punch does the body good. Including protein in your regular diet helps to stave off hunger, build immunity and strengthen heart health, just to name a few benefits. A balanced diet improves your health, and including protein in the mix is absolutely essential.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Pregnant women should consume 1.1 g/kg of bodyweight per day and lactating women should consume 1.3 g/kg of bodyweight per day. These amounts should be adjusted in correspondence with individual factors, such as physical activity and medical conditions.

The great part about protein is that there are a variety of foods that pack high-protein levels. It isn’t very difficult to meet protein intake suggestions, so this flexibility allows for variety in diets. Protein can be found in a variety of nuts, legumes, meats, poultry, tofu and cheeses.

The variety of protein-rich foods is great, but the best part is that protein has a whole host of benefits. As a weight loss aid, it reduces the risk of heart disease, encourages growth in children and improves muscle tone.

Did you know that consuming peanuts or peanut butter for breakfast can lower blood sugar levels and maintain feelings of fullness longer? A recent study, “Acute and second-meal effects of peanuts on glycaemic response and appetite in obese women with type 2 diabetes risk: a randomized cross-over clinical trial,” explained that the protein and fibre worked together to stabilize blood sugar. Depending on when protein is consumed, it can help to better manage diet and weight loss.

For a delicious and nutritious start to the day, add two tablespoons of peanut butter (30 mL) or a quarter cup (60 mL) of peanuts to your breakfast. They both offer eight grams of protein to contribute to your daily intake and energize your day.

When planning your diet, remember to include protein to enjoy the many benefits offered!

Source: Harvard School of Public Health, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, British Journal of Nutrition