Getting The Protein Your Body Needs
Your metabolism and appetite can be directly tied to your total protein intake and so is your energy level and how you feel throughout the day.
Getting the right amount of protein your body needs may transform your health in such a simple way that there’s no reason not to do it.
Protein is found in a variety of foods. From meats to vegetables like edamame. There are no side effects to increasing your protein so long as you aren’t increasing your overall caloric intake.
Additionally, protein may help your body build muscle. Muscle aids the body in burning more calories all day long, helping keep you healthy and at a good weight. Here’s a look at how to start getting the protein your body might need to operate at its best.
Average protein needs
The amount of protein your body needs may vary according to your size and activity level. As a rule, you should aim for 25-30 percent of your total calories for the day to come from protein. This translates to approximately 56 grams of protein per day for men without factoring in intensive activity and 46 grams of protein per day for women who are not especially active.*
For active adults, the amount of protein they need per day may increase at the same rate based off of a total calorie intake. For example, the 56 grams per day for men is based off of a 2,000-calorie per day diet. So men who burn 500 calories in intense physical activity would then need 70 grams of protein per day to match their 2,500 calorie diet.*
Some athletes that work out for long durations of high intensity every day look to protein supplements to help ensure they get the right amount of protein to help their muscles repair after working out and still have the energy to go about their day. For people looking to lose weight, a study found that protein may help individuals feel full longer so that they can stay on track to meet their weight loss goals.
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How to find lean protein
While protein is great for the body, some sources of protein come with high amounts of unhealthy fats. This is something you should watch out for to help protect your cardiovascular health and your overall weight.
Fish – for the most part, white-fleshed fish is a lean protein source. Most varieties include 3 or less grams of fat per 20 grams of protein in a 3.5 ounce serving. Watch out for adding too much fat during the cooking process though. Adding butter to fish is a common practice but be sure to do so in moderation.
Dairy products – it is best to opt for the low-fat options of your favorite dairy products if you’re looking for a lean protein. A serving of Greek nonfat yogurt includes about 15-20 grams of protein and only about 3 grams of fat, making it a great choice of protein. Other dairy products also contain these healthy balances of fat to protein, such as low-fat milk and low-fat cheese.
Poultry – when eating poultry, remove the skin and avoid dark meat. These two locations of the meat are where the fats reside. Poultry is another lean protein you want to watch out for how it’s prepared. While chicken wings might not have dark meat in them, they often include the skin or breading and sauces loaded with calories.
It isn’t all about meat – Vegetarians do not have to have a low-protein diet because they don’t eat meat. There are plenty of healthy and lean protein sources to fill the gaps for those who don’t eat meat.
Beans, peas and lentils – these legumes pack up to 8 grams of protein per serving, with very low fat and high fiber. One of the things to consider when getting your protein from this source is that it is low in amino acids, which help your body process and use protein. Be sure to consume nuts and whole grains to get your amino acid needs.
Tofu – in just 3 ounces, tofu provides your body 1.5 grams of fat and 7 grams of protein alongside essential amino acids. Tofu also comes in a variety of textures to meet your needs when using it to replace other meats within common recipes.
Sunflower seeds and other nuts – nuts are a great vegetarian and vegan way to get your needed proteins each day. They also contain large amounts vitamin E and magnesium. Eat one ounce and you’ll get 6 grams of protein.
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There are many options out there where you can get your protein intake. Make sure to eat the right amount wether it be through supplements or with food. No matter where you get your protein from, it’s a crucial and essential part of your diet, so give it the attention it deserves.