Protein helps you stay fuller for longer - it is the macronutrient with the highest satiety factor (over carbohydrates or fats). Protein also, very importantly, helps build and maintain lean muscle mass in your body, which is super important in keeping your metabolism high throughout your life, and helps in building and maintaining a lean body that burns fat effectively.
To oversimplify, if you are currently inactive, make sure you get an absolute minimum of one gram of protein per every kilogram of bodyweight, every day. So if you weigh 80 kg, you should aim to get at least 80 grams of protein daily. You can track your protein intake easily with an app like MyFitnessPal (by going to the nutrition section in your food diary).
Here's a simple list of the best protein sources:
- Poultry (chicken, turkey...)
- Red meat (beef, pork, lamb...)
- Seafood (tuna, salmon, mackerel, prawns, scallops...)
- Dairy (yoghurt, cottage cheese, fromage frais, milk, cheese...)
- Whey protein powder (not necessary, but great if you struggle to get enough protein in)
And if you're a vegetarian, here are the best foods to help with your daily protein intake:
- Beans (kidney, chickpeas/hummus, haricot...)
- Legumes (lentils, peas, peanut butter...)
- Nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews...)
- Seeds (sunflower, flax, pumpkin, hemp...)
- Milk alternatives (almond/cashew/hazelnut/soya/rice drinks etc. ...)
- Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats, bread...)
- Veggies (peas, broccoli, spinach, kale etc. ...)
- Protein powder (hemp protein/pea protein/rice protein etc. ...)
For optimal health and best results from any training you do, try to include a source of protein with every meal you have.
Good luck, and make sure to join The 10 Minute Body team on Facebook where you can ask nutrition and exercise related questions.