Millions of readers rely on HelpGuide for free, evidence-based resources to understand and navigate mental health challenges. Please donate today to help us protect, support, and save lives. Protein in your diet provides energy and supports your mood and cognitive function. The amino acid tryptophan influences mood by producing serotonin, which can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and improve overall cognitive function. Most animal sources of protein, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy, deliver all the amino acids your body needs, while plant-based protein sources such as grains, beans, vegetables, and nuts often lack one or more of the essential amino acids. By eating a variety of plant-based sources of protein each day you can ensure your body gets all the essential amino acids it needs. Protein gives you the energy to get up and go—and keep going. While too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, diabetes, and some other conditions, eating the right amount of high-quality protein. As well as being imperative to feeling healthy and energetic, protein is also important to the way you look. Eating high-quality protein can help you maintain healthy skin, nails, and hair, build muscle, and maintain lean body mass while dieting. While most people eating a Western diet get a sufficient quantity of protein each day, many of us are not getting the quality of protein we need.
Protein is an essential macronutrient, but not all food sources of protein are created equal, and you may not need as much as you think. Learn the basics about protein and shaping your diet with healthy protein foods. Jump to: — What is protein? Protein is found throughout the body—in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue. It makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. At least 10, different proteins make you what you are and keep you that way. Protein is made from twenty-plus basic building blocks called amino acids. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.
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