Protein shakes, protein supplements, protein diets, and protein-enriched products have been dominating the nutrition world for a while. While some may think consuming a lot of protein is a fad, research has shown that eating foods rich in protein has many benefits for your body. Here is more information about what protein is, why protein is important in your diet, sources of protein, and some of my favorite protein-rich recipes.
Protein: An Essential Macronutrient
In our bodies, protein is found in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and every other body part or tissue. It is made from chemical “building blocks”, or amino acids, that are the building blocks of muscle mass, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Why Every Body Needs Protein
Protein plays a key role in your body’s health and wellness. Eating protein daily will help your body to:
- Build bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin
- Repair tissue
- Carry nutrients and oxygenated red blood cells throughout the body
- Digest food through the enzymes that consuming protein makes
- Regulate hormones, especially during times of development or transformation, such as puberty
How Much Protein Does a Person Need?
According to a dietary intake guide published by the National Academies of Medicine, the protein recommendation for adults is just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight. For example, a 120-pound person should aim to eat about 42 grams of protein per day, while a 180-pound person should aim to eat about 63 grams per day.
To calculate how much protein your body needs:
- Divide your weight by 2, then multiply it by 7. The answer is the number of grams of protein you should strive to eat per day.
Good Sources of Protein
There are many ways to incorporate protein into your diet, but not all protein is created equal. As mentioned above, there are many protein-enriched foods available (shakes, bars, etc.,). As a rule of thumb, I recommend that my wellness clients mix up where they derive their protein from, while leaning more towards naturally-occurring protein sources, such as:
- Fish / Shellfish
- Chicken / Turkey
- Lean Beef
- Whole eggs
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Chia Seeds
- Tofu / Tempeh / Edamame
Protein Rich Recipes
Here are some of my favorite protein-rich recipes.
Keeping up with your daily intake of protein will give your body energy, help it to repair, and will carry oxygen throughout your body. The combination of these things will make you feel healthier overall.