Everyone pretty much knows protein is important. It is not as hard a sell as fats. As a trainer I have found that most people, especially women, tend not to eat enough of it despite this knowledge.
Protein is important because it is an essential macronutrient and a component of every cell in the body. Our hair and nails are made of protein. Protein is used to make enzymes and hormones. It also is used by our bodies to build and repair tissues. Protein helps us to feel full and has thermogenic properties that contribute to fat loss.
The best sources of protein are eggs, meat, and seafood. CIean whey and dairy are quality sources of protein as well. However, many people have mild to severe intolerance to dairy (usually lactose) so that needs to be monitored closely.
It is best to buy organic and grass-fed to maximize the health benefits of protein. Organic helps to avoid potential added chemicals that can be toxic. Grass-fed meat and dairy reduces the saturated fat in these foods. How much a person should eat varies depending on their specific chemistry and body composition goals. A general rule of thumb is 30% to 35% calories from healthy sources of protein. For optimal health a person should strive to have some source of protein at every meal. So eat up!