Some think that protein should be consumed by weight lifters and athletes only. Others, woman in particular, often think that consuming protein will make them gain weight. In reality, protein is a macro-nutrient essential to maintain optimal health. Protein is so much more than a muscle-builder.

Generally protein makes up about 17% of our body weight, in addition to 60% water, 17% fat and 6% other nutrients. In fact, the human body contains an estimated 10,000 to 50,000 different kinds of proteins, each protein having a specific function – just to give you an idea of its significance.

Protein definitely does play a big role in muscle-building as it has growth and maintenance properties. Other main functions are: providing building blocks for skin, bone, ligaments, artery walls and other body structures, synthesising hormones, transporting substances in the blood, enzymatic such as digestive enzymes helping the body break down food, regulation of pH, balancing of fluid and immunity.

For the body to perform all these functions, an adequate intake of protein is needed. The daily recommend intake of protein will vary widely depending on factors such as body size, activity levels, age and stress levels. In general, for adults, a daily intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight is recommend while this should be anywhere between 1.0 grams and 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight for athletic adults. An athletic adult weighing 80kg should therefore consume around 80 to 120 grams of protein a day.

Consuming 80 grams to 120 grams of protein a day is easily done. Eggs and salmon for breakfast, a snack of nuts & seeds, a big salad with turkey for lunch, a training session followed by a protein shake and a dinner containing plenty of vegetables, sprouted grains and meat will easily get you there.