Let’s talk about protein for a moment. What is the significance of protein? What are some of the advantages of protein? What foods are high in protein? and what is the best source of protein?
Protein is extremely vital for your body’s optimal functioning. It also provides a variety of health benefits beyond basic function and can be found in a variety of foods.
What Does Protein Do in the Body?
Let’s start with the part protein performs in your body’s daily operations. Protein is used for a variety of purposes, including:
- Bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood are made up of building blocks.
- Enzyme, hormone, and vitamin building blocks
- One of the three nutrients responsible for calorie production.
- When it comes to “building,” protein is crucial. Consider it like the bricks that make up a structure. You can’t build a house with a blueprint alone! You’ll need raw resources to construct the house, which it offers.
Let us also take note that protein is the most satiating of all macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats). Consuming a high-protein diet can lead to easier weight loss! This is not just because it is so filling, but also it has the highest thermogenic effect of all macronutrients meaning your body uses more energy to digest and break down protein than carbohydrates and fats.
Why Does the Body Need Protein?
Protein is necessary for the correct functioning of your body, but it also provides numerous health benefits that contribute to your general well-being.
These advantages are derived from protein-rich foods. Three distinct vitamins and minerals, in particular:
- B vitamins aid in the formation of tissue and red blood cells.
- Magnesium is a mineral that helps to create bones and maintain muscular function.
- Zinc is a mineral that supports the immune system.
- Seafood, which is high in protein, also contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which can help lower the risk of heart disease.
How Much Protein Do You Need?
To begin, keep in mind that everyone’s needs will vary according on their age, gender, amount of activity, and other factors. As a result, I’ll offer some recommendations to assist you in getting started:
- Females between the ages of 14 and 70: 46 grams per day
- Males between the ages of 14 and 18: 52 grams per day
- Males aged 19 to 70 years old: 56 grams per day
- You could think this is a little low, and I would agree! If you’re physically active, especially if you lift weights, you’ll require more protein each day.
Athletes should consume 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilograms per day. For a 150-pound person, this equates to 81 to 136 grams each day.
It may be good to raise protein to 2.0 grams per kilograms per day or higher for those who are in a calorie deficit for fat loss to prevent muscle loss.
You can also track servings per day if you don’t want to track how many grams you eat every day. It is recommended that people who consume roughly 2000 calories per day have 5-12 servings of protein per day. 1 oz. meat, nuts, seeds, or soy products Equals 1 serving
Food Sources of Protein
What are some good protein-rich foods? While meat is usually the first thing that springs to mind, there are plenty of vegetarian options as well. Some instances are as follows:
- Beef, ham, lamb, or pork that is lean
- Turkey or chicken
- Fish, shellfish, and tinned fish are all options.
- Nuts, seeds, and nut butters are all good options.
- Tempeh or tofu
It’s also crucial to think about serving size. 1 oz. meat, 1 egg, 12 oz. nuts, 1 tbsp. nut butter, 14 cup cooked beans, 2 oz. tofu, or 6 tbsp. hummus equals one serving.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins (essential, non essential, conditional)
Finally, we’ll talk about amino acids, which are the chemicals that combine to produce proteins. Amino acids are divided into three categories:
Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body, we must obtain them from our diet.
Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body, we do not need to obtain them through our diets, albeit they may contain them.
Conditional amino acids are typically non-essential, but they might become necessary during disease or stress.
So, Why Do We Need Protein?
Well, it’s the foundation for pretty about everything your body need. This is why including protein-rich meals in your diet is so vital.
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