This is one macro nutrient that is often missing in people’s diet. Or sometimes the wrong kind is overly consumed.

When I ask people about protein, they often reply “where do I get that from” (other than meat)?

What role does protein play in our health?

Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Protein is involved with your mood, sleep, muscle growth, muscle repair and maintenance, helps build cells and tissue, boosts the immune system and aids in enzyme production. So therefore protein is involved in the production of hormones, enzymes and is part of the energy production cycle.

When you eat protein it breaks down into amino acids. These amino acids are then involved in nearly all aspects of health. There are essential and non-essential amino acids.

Non-Essential is where your body can make these amino acids if there is enough starting material. Essential amino acids need to be consumed through your diet. There are 20 standard amino acids utilised in the body and they include:

Non-essential Amino Acids

These can be made in the body from other amino acids

  1. Alanine
  2. Asparagine
  3. Arginine
  4. Cysteine
  5. Glutamate
  6. Glutamine
  7. Glycine
  8. Proline
  9. Serine
  10. Tyrosine

Essential Amino Acids

These cannot be made in the body and must be consumed

  1. Arginine
  2. Histidine
  3. Isoleucine
  4. Leucine
  5. Lysine
  6. Methionine
  7. Phenylalanine
  8. Threonine
  9. Tryptophan
  10. Valine

Some of these you may be familiar with others not so much. Take the essential amino acid, tryptophan, this is needed for good mood and sleep, you can see by the chart it must be consumed through the diet. The best foods for this amino acid include turkey, chicken, fish, eggs, soybeans and chocolate.

Methionine is another essential amino acid which is involved with essential energy production and must be found in the diet. This can be found in beef, fish, eggs, garlic, onions, Brazil nuts and sesame seeds.

Tyrosine is needed for good thyroid function and subsequent healthy metabolism. This can be found in avocados, almonds, beef, chicken, eggs, fish and pumpkin seeds.

Glutamine is a powerful antioxidant and also assists with good gut health. This is found in most protein sources.

Arginine is required for nitric oxide production which leads to healthy circulation and blood flow. This can be found in almonds, beef, legumes, peanuts, soybeans and sea food.

Protein Sources

How do we ensure, we are getting the right kind of amino acids? This can be achieved by having a variety of different protein sources which includes both animal and plant based proteins. If you are vegetarian or vegan this area can be tricky as plant based proteins can be less complete than animal based ones. This would mean a well-structured diet to ensure that protein levels are adequate and are able to be absorbed and properly utilized by the body.

If you are a meat eater then trying some plant based sources of protein, this will be of benefit as they can also contain extra fibre. Different proteins can mean a wider source of amino acids, providing your body the right materials to do its job properly.

Here is a list of different protien options from animal and plant based sources.


Per 100g serve

Pork = 22.7g

Chicken = 22.3g

Turkey = 21.6g

Beef = 12.1g

Lamb = 10.8g



Per 100g serve

Tuna = 23.4g

Salmon = 20.7g

Prawn = 20.5g

Whiting = 20.4g

Cod = 18.8g



Per 100g serve

Soy beans = 31.3g

Lima beans = 21.4g

Green peas = 5.9g

Sun dried tomato = 11.2g

Broccoli = 4.4g


Per 100g serve

Dried currants = 2.8g

Raisins = 4.7g

Dried figs = 3.6g

Dried apricots = 4.3g

Prunes  = 2.3g



Per 28g serving

Sunflower seeds = 7.5g

Pumkin seeds = 6.8g

Seasame seeds = 6.2g

Flax seeds = 5.1g

Chia seeds = 4.4g


Per 28g serving

Peanuts = 6.9g

Almonds = 5.4g

Pistachio nuts = 5.5g

Cashews = 4.7g

Walnuts = 4.0g



Per 100g serving

Cheddar cheese = 24.6g

Cottage cheese = 15.4g

Yoghurt (Plain) = 6g

Milk (regular) = 3.5g



Small egg 38 g = 4.9 g

Med. egg 44g = 5.7g

Large egg 50g = 6.5g

XLarge egg 56g = 7.3g

Jumbo egg 63g = 8.2g


Nuttab 10


The amount of protein needed each day will depend on a person’s age, gender and activity. Generally, 10–35% of your daily calories should come from protein. An easy way to determine how much protein you should have, is to look at your plate each time you eat, about 1/4 of your plate should be a source of protein.


Aim for at least your own body weight in grams per day; for example, if you weight 65kg, then you should consume at least 65g of protein every day.

As you can see protien plays an important part of your daily diet and is needed for all aspects of health and function.

If you are wanting to know more about your nutritional status then book in for a dietary assessment.


This article was authored by Jan Caton – Bachelor of Health Science – Naturopathy. Jan is the Director, Naturopath and Nutritionist of Magnolia Apothecary. Jan practices in the yarra ranges.



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