What is protein, how much do you need and where to get it from ?
Reading labels isn`t a skill for everyone if they don`t understand what it`s written on them. Depending on your diet, lifestyle and age your body needs more or less protein.
What is protein?
Well..protein is a macronutrient, one of the three nutrients found in food that the body needs in large amounts. It is essential for maintenance and building of body tissues and muscle. They are made of compounds called amino acids , which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur.
Muscles, skin, bones, nails and other parts of the human body contain significant amounts of protein , including enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
What does protein do?
It plays a role in nearly every biological process. The main function is to build , strenghten and repair or replace things , such as tissue (structural – like collagen, hormonal – like insulin, carriers – example hemoglobin, enzymes). All these are proteins.
How much protein do I need?
More than a food label tells you! Maybe double!
The RDA ( recommended dietary allowance ) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for sedentary adults 18 and over. The RDA for children is higher, 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight.
So a 150 pound person needs 60 grams protein per day. For active people , athletes and elderly people the amount is considered by experts being too small. Lots of doctors recommend 1.4 grams per kilogram of body weight. Me, personally, I do 1 – 1.2 grams of protein per body weight.
Where do we get all the protein from?
Since I want to consume between 65- 80 grams of protein per day I do 3 meals and a protein shake depending on the day I`m having. For me personally , it`s very easy to get all the protein I need, since I`m a food lover and I like most healthy products that have a high amount of protein.
Most concentrated forms of protein in the human diet are animal based foods : fish, meat, eggs and diary products. I love a good steak, skinless chicken or turkey breast, tuna, eggs, cottage cheese and yogurt.
Meat normally contains all 9 of the essential amino acids our body needs to get from food( they are the amino acids our body can`t make in its own).
Of course if you`re vegan or vegetarian , you may practice getting all the protein from fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds, but individually they lack one or more of the nine essential amino acids.
High quality vegetarian protein sources include : quinoa, buckwheat, hempseed, chia seeds, soy, rice, beans, spirulina, many grains and nuts, hummus and of course between other,the famous peanut butter sandwich. You can go for a plant based protein shake to help ensure you get the best amount of essentian amino acids and protein in general.
Google and a lot of phone apps now offer you the possibility to search everything you eat, know how much fat, protein, carbs, sugar they contain, making it easy to track your intake.