Protein word cloud

 

 

Benefits Of Protein

 

Protein is important for your health. Some of its benefits include:

  • More muscle and strength– protein helps to increase muscle mass. You can build muscle without eating any protein, but if you lift weights or do other resistance exercise, the combination of the two has a synergistic effect.
  • Higher metabolism– because it increases muscle mass, and muscle requires more energy for maintenance, it also increases your resting metabolic rate, your metabolism. You burn more calories, even at rest.
  • Less weight-  because it can boost your metabolism and reduce your hunger it can help you lose weight as well. It takes almost twice as many  calories for your body to breakdown and absorb protein as it does for carbohydrates.
  • Less hunger– because protein is filling, you feel full with less food. In one study, women who increased their protein intake to 30% of total daily calories ate 441 calories less per day on the average.
  • Greater bone density- here’s a big benefit for our age group, especially as we get older and especially for women- research has shown that a higher protein intake increases bone density which results in a lower risk of osteoporosis.

 

How Much Should You Eat Daily?

 

Now, on to the question of much protein should you eat each day- the range is pretty broad. There isn’t any absolute agreement on how much protein we need and most research studies have concluded that our government’s Recommended Daily Allowance of 0.36 grams (about a third of a gram) per pound of bodyweight is too low.

The amount of protein you need is based on your lifestyle, age, and activity level. The more active you are, the more protein you need. Here’s the general consensus:

If you’re an average sedentary adult who doesn’t really exercise- you should eat about 0.5- 0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight,

If you’re doing some form of exercise or trying to lose fat or build some muscle- you should eat about 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

If your primary goal is to build muscle while losing fat- you should eat about 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

I weigh about 190 lbs. and shoot for 190-200 grams of protein a day, about 800 calories (each gram of protein contains 4 calories), which equates to about 40% of my total daily caloric intake.

 

Good Sources Of Protein

 

Here’s a list of good sources of protein and by no means complete:

Meat

Lean beef 
Lean pork
Veal
Skinless chicken breast
Skinless turkey breast
Eggs

Fish             
Salmon
Tilapia
Halibut
Tuna
Sardines
Shrimp     

Dairy      
Greek yogurt
Cheese     
Cottage cheese   
Whey protein      

Beans     
Lentils
Soybeans
Navy beans
Black beans
Kidney beans
Chickpeas
Pinto beans
Tofu

Vegetables and Grains

Broccoli
Green peas
Edamame
Spinach
Hemp
Wheat germ
Quinoa
Soba noodles

Nuts and Seeds

Nut butters
Almonds
Peanuts
Pistachios
Chia seeds
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Poppy seeds
Sesame seeds

 

This isn’t a complete list of all foods containing protein, just some foods with higher protein content. The important thing is to try and get your protein from foods that are as unprocessed as possible. Single ingredient whole foods are the best.

 

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