Are You Getting Enough Protein? – 5 Reasons Why You Should

Jennifer Ezeokoli
Jennifer Ezeokoli
Jennifer is a food enthusiast, Writer/Content Creator. Driven by passion, as the Head of content for African Food Network, she strives to curate exciting, fun, informative and functional content.
- Advertisement -
image: thejakarta

Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. They are essential nutrients for the human body as they are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as a fuel source. Protein can be found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. This also includes body organs, hair and skin.


Too Little Or Too Much?

Protein deficiency and malnutrition (PEM) can lead to variety of ailments including mental retardation and kwashiorkor. Symptoms of kwashiorkor include apathy, diarrhea, inactivity, failure to grow, flaky skin, fatty liver, and edema of the belly and legs. This edema is explained by the action of lipoxygenase on arachidonic acid to form leukotrienes and the normal functioning of proteins in fluid balance and lipoprotein transport.

When food protein intake is periodically high or low, the body tries to keep protein levels at an equilibrium by using the “labile protein reserve” to compensate for daily variations in protein intake. However, unlike body fat as a reserve for future caloric needs, there is no protein storage for future needs.


Health Benefits

Studies show that eating protein can also help you lose weight and belly fat while increasing your muscle mass and strength. A diet that is high in protein may also help lower blood pressure, fight diabetes, and more. Here are the essential benefits of eating proteins:

  • Protein is a key component of bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin. Protein makes up the majority of your hair and nails.
  • A protein molecule found in red blood cells transports oxygen throughout the body. This aids in the flow of nutrients to your entire body.
  • It is essential for building new and repairing worn-out tissues.
  • Protein is crucial for hormone regulation, particularly during cell transformation and development throughout puberty.
  • About half of the protein you eat each day is used to make enzymes, which aid in digestion, as well as new cells and body chemicals.

Recommend Daily Intake

The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.


Sources Of Food Protein


Eggs Protein source
Image from Unsplash

Whole eggs are among the healthiest and most nutritious foods available. They’re an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, eye-protecting antioxidants, and brain nutrients that you need. Whole eggs are high in protein, but egg whites are almost pure protein. Egg and foods containing egg are not suitable for people with an egg allergy.

Protein content: 33% of calories in a whole egg. One large egg has 6 grams of protein and 78 calories.


Chicken breast:

chicken breast protein source
Image from Jessica Galvin

Chicken breast is one of the most popular protein-rich foods.If you eat it without the skin, most of its calories come from protein.Chicken breast is also very easy to cook and versatile. It can taste delicious in a wide range of dishes.

Protein content: 75% of calories. One roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams and only 284 calories.



Oats protein source
Image from Unsplash

Oats are among the healthiest grains available. They provide healthy fibers, magnesium, manganese, thiamine (vitamin B1), and several other nutrients.

Protein content: 14% of calories. One cup of oats has 11 grams and 307 calories.


Greek yogurt:

Greek yoghurt protein source
Image from Eat This, Not That

Greek yogurt, also called strained yogurt, is a very thick type of yogurt. It pairs well with sweet and savory dishes. It has a creamy texture and is high in many nutrients.

Protein content: 69% of calories. One 6-ounce (170-gram) container has 17 grams of protein and only 100 calories.

When buying Greek yogurt, opt for one without added sugar. Full fat Greek yogurt is also high in protein but contains more calories.



Milk contains a little of nearly every nutrient that your body needs. It’s a good source of high quality protein, and it’s high in calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin (vitamin B2). If you are concerned about your fat intake, low or zero fat milk is an option.

For those with lactose intolerance, consuming milk can lead to gastrointestinal symptoms. People with a milk allergy can likewise experience severe symptoms, so dairy milk is not a suitable option for them either.

For those who wish to drink milk but either cannot tolerate it or follow a purely plant-based diet, alternatives include soy milk.

Protein content: 21% of calories. One cup of whole milk contains 8 grams of protein and 149 calories. One cup of soy milk contains 6.3 grams of protein and 105 calories.


Tuna: Tuna is a popular type of fish. You can eat it hot in a range of baked dishes or cold in salads. It’s low in fat and calories but a rich source of protein. Like other fish, tuna is a good source of various nutrients and contains omega-3 fats.

Protein content: 84% of calories in tuna canned in water. One can (142 grams) contains 27 grams of protein and only 128 calories.


Turkey breast:  Turkey breast is similar to chicken breast in many ways. It consists mostly of protein, with very little fat and calories. It also tastes delicious and is high in various vitamins and minerals.

Protein content: 82% of calories. One 3-ounce (85-gram) serving contains 26 grams and 125 calories.


Fish (all types): Fish is healthy for various reasons. It’s rich in essential nutrients. Some types are high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Protein content: Highly variable. Salmon is 22% protein, containing 19 grams per 3-ounce (85- gram) serving and only 175 calories.


Peanuts: Peanuts are high in protein, fiber, and magnesium. Studies show that they can help you lose weight. Peanut butter is also high in protein, but it can likewise be high in calories. Therefore, you should eat it in moderation.

Peanuts are not suitable for people with a nut allergy.

Protein content: 18% of calories. One ounce (28 grams) contains 7 grams and 161 calories.


Lentils: Lentils are a type of legume. They are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, folate, copper, manganese, and various other nutrients. Lentils are among the world’s best sources of plant-based protein, and they’re an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.

Protein content: 31% of calories. One cup (198 grams) of boiled lentils contains 18 grams of protein and 230 calories.

Other high protein legumes includes;

Soybeans (33% of calories), kidney beans (24%), and chickpeas (19%).


In summary, Protein is essential for maintaining and repairing body tissue. It may also help you lose weight. Endeavor to eat a protein-based meal daily.

Here are similar articles you may love:

Counting Carbohydrates – 3 Fundamental Things About Carbohydrates You Need to Know

Beans As A Carbohydrate Source

6 Astonishing Things About Eggs and More You Need To Know.

Ham, Liver and Eggs Fried Rice

Try These Interesting Ways To Cook Eggs

Dambu With Veggies

You Would Be Surprised With These 5 African Foods That Will Help Your Skin Glow

4 Economically Important African Fruits And Their Seasons

5 Natural African Spices You Should Incorporate Into Your Daily Meal


Share this post:
Jennifer Ezeokoli
Jennifer Ezeokoli
Jennifer is a food enthusiast, Writer/Content Creator. Driven by passion, as the Head of content for African Food Network, she strives to curate exciting, fun, informative and functional content.

Must Try Recipes

You'll also love