Protein for your fitness and health

Article

Protein plays many roles in your body and is essential for health at every age. So, it’s not surprising that protein is so popular these days!

By DFC - PLC, Nutrition Team
Woman cooking

Become a protein pro

Protein plays a number of key roles in supporting your health. It helps to:

  • promote children’s optimal growth and development 
  • maintain healthy muscles and bones in adults; 
  • facilitate muscle recovery after a workout; 
  • repair body tissues after an injury; 
  • support a healthy immune system. 

It's important to eat some protein with every meal in order to meet your body's needs. Since our bodies aren't designed to store excess protein, we need a regular supply. 

Protein is found naturally in a number of foods: meat, poultry, fish and seafood, milk products, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds. Canada’s Food Guide now classifies these as “Protein foods”.   

Protein from animal sources: “complete” protein 

Unlike plant-based protein sources which generally provide incomplete protein, protein from animal sources is considered “complete”. That’s because it provides all 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot synthetize itself. The protein found in milk is also considered a complete protein. In fact, dairy protein is among the highest quality sources of protein. Dairy protein was actually used as a standard reference to evaluate the quality of protein in other foods for a while. 

Variety promotes health

A diet that includes a variety of protein foods matters, because it provides us with the various essential nutrients we need for our overall health. For example, fatty fish, such as salmon and trout, contain valuable omega-3; red meat is especially rich in iron and zinc that is easy for the body to absorb; milk products are an important and reliable source of calcium and other key nutrients essential for bone health; legumes and nuts are fabulous sources of fibre in addition to other nutrients. That’s why it’s important to include a wide variety of protein foods in your everyday diet.  

Did you know that the majority of Canadians do not consume enough calcium? Including milk products, such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, in your daily diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting your recommended dose of calcium. Learn more about calcium.

Protein: An ally for active lives

Eating enough protein is important to help build and maintain healthy muscles. Protein helps repair muscles after intense physical activity and stimulates muscle development after training. Looking for post-workout protein ideas? Try our green mango tango smoothie.

Protein and your appetite

Protein plays a key role in promoting satiety, the feeling of fullness you get after you eat. Not eating enough protein, may leave you feeling hungry, which could lead you to snack more (often on less nutritious foods). Another good reason to eat enough protein with your meals and snacks. 

Protein…all day long

Does your breakfast keep you full until lunch? Do your energy levels tend to “crash” in the middle of the afternoon? Do your snacks contain enough protein? Here are a few satisfying recipe ideas that are sure to tickle your taste buds: 

Breakfast

Lunch

Snack