Protein for improved health
A key aspect of any diet, protein is a critical element in an athletes training program. Protein serves many functions in the human body; some examples include the rebuilding and maintenance of muscle tissue, the formation of various cells and enzymes and for keeping the immune system strong.
A good recommendation for active individuals is to try and consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Sedentary individuals will need slightly less than this, and dieting individuals slightly more. The primary reason for this is because when you are on a lower calorie level, there will be fewer calories available for energy and the body could turn to using muscle tissue for energy instead. This would cause a loss of muscle mass, which is something that every dieter should try and avoid.
The richest sources to find this macronutrient include meat products, dairy, fish, beans, soy products, nuts and sports supplement powders. Vegetarians in particular need to be extra careful about meeting their needs, particularly if they are cutting out all animal products.
There are also plenty of myths circulating about taking in too much of this macronutrient and while anything in excess of two grams per pound of body weight is unnecessary and will either be used for energy or stored as fat, unless you have pre-existing kidney problems it really is not that dangerous.