Proteins are super important for our bodies. Not only for people who like to train their muscles, but protein is essential for everyone. To feel fit and happy ourselves, we need to get enough of it daily. But why are proteins so important? And how do they contribute to a healthy and happy lifestyle? You can read about that and more here.
What are proteins?
But first a step back. Because to answer why proteins are important, it is useful to know what role they play in our bodies. Proteins are nutrients. Among other things, they help our bodies grow and repair organs, muscles and bones. We need them to function properly. In fact, we cannot do without proteins.
What kinds of protein are there and what is it in?
Proteins can be either animal or vegetable. Animal proteins can be found in eggs, milk, cheese, meat and fish. Plant proteins in bread and nuts, for instance. So the nutrients have little to do with egg, as some people think. Eggs do contain protein, but not nearly as much as the high-protein products meat and fish.
What do proteins do in our bodies?
Back to the question of why proteins are so important. Because what exactly do proteins do in our bodies? Proteins are made up of different building blocks called amino acids. Among other things, amino acids take care of the daily maintenance of the body. Where necessary, they repair and replace damaged cells of organs, muscles and bones.
Essential amino acids
There are 22 different types of amino acids, divided into two categories: essential and non-essential. The first group consists of 9 types of amino acids that we need to get with proteins in our diet so that our body can break them down (into these amino acids).
Non-essential amino acids
The second group consists of 13 non-essential amino acids that our body produces itself. Illness or strenuous exercise can prevent this from happening sufficiently. Then it is necessary to supplement them with food.
Isoleucine, Leucine and Valine
These are three essential amino acids with special functions. Leucine in particular has an extra supportive effect in creating muscle mass and muscle recovery. The amino acids contribute to both muscle growth and muscle maintenance. Moreover, they reduce muscle damage and prevent muscle wasting. For avid athletes, it is important to get enough of these.
How much protein do you need?
If we want to feel healthy and happy, getting enough protein is essential. How much protein you need depends on a number of things. For instance, age, gender, energy consumption and physical condition play an important role.
A healthy adult
For a healthy adult, a daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein per body weight is sufficient. For someone weighing 60 kilos, for example, that means an average of 48 grams of protein per day.
For endurance athletes
If you put in extra effort, have had a good workout or are an avid athlete, you need more. After all, your muscles are your main source of protein. In endurance sports, such as cycling, this is 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. A 60-kg cyclist therefore needs 84 grams daily.
In power sports
In strength sports and other explosive sports, it is even more. For these, the rule is 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This difference has to do with how you use your muscles, and how your muscles develop.
How do you keep your protein supply up?
As you can imagine, it's important to keep your supply of protein at a constant level.
The amino acids released during digestion in the small intestine are absorbed by the body. The blood takes them to the liver (and other tissues) for the production of (new) body protein. The rest is used as energy, for glucose or stored as fat.
Although our bodies do recycle, about 70% of amino acids come from our food. So we are partly responsible ourselves for keeping our protein supply in order.
A healthy and varied diet
In any case, a healthy diet is crucial to get your daily dose of protein. This can sometimes be quite a challenge. After all, how do you know if you are taking in enough protein? A varied and balanced diet of grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, nuts, dairy (and possibly meat) will go a long way to help you. This way, you get most of the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals and proteins.
Goat milk has a high protein quality
Still find it difficult to get the right dose of protein? Goat milk is an example of a product with high protein quality. By adding products from goat's milk to your diet every day, you are already getting close to your necessary amount.
Remember what we said about the essential amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine? Goat's milk has more of them (per µM/100ml) than cow's milk. This makes goat milk ideally suited as a source of protein for muscle mass creation and recovery.
Are proteins important for a healthy & happy lifestyle?
Yes indeed, we cannot live without it. Proteins are an essential part of a healthy and varied diet. Moreover, proteins are effective macronutrients: nutrients that make you feel satiated. A healthy diet, including enough proteins, makes it easier to stay at a (healthy) weight. It provides balance. Just what you need for a healthy & happy lifestyle.