Protein is without a doubt one of the most important building blocks for a healthy, balanced diet.
And not only that, our body needs it to function!
Sources of protein include: red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese), legumes, wholegrains, nuts (including nut butter) and seeds(like hemp & pumpkin).
As for how much protein you should be consuming per day, the averages are:
- Women: 0.75kg per kilogram of bodyweight, per day
- Men: 0.85kg per kilogram of bodyweight, per day
- People who are pregnant/breastfeeding/over the age of 70: 1g per kilogram of bodyweight per day
- Children vary depending on age and growth. Speak to a health professional to ensure their individual needs are met.
Our nutrition coaches here at Equalution can calculate exactly how much protein, and other macronutrients, you need each day depending on your health goal (fat loss, weight management, muscle gain) and provide a meal plan catered to your targets. Click here to find out more.
So what are the specific benefits of eating protein, you might be wondering? Don’t worry, we’ve broken it down for you…
Provides essential amino acids
Amino acids, also referred to as the building blocks of protein, are crucial to healthy bodily functions and help build hormones and neurotransmitters.
Protein is made of 20 amino acids, 11 of which the body can make on it’s own – but 9 of which we need to come from our diet. Hence, why we need to ensure we’re consuming enough protein each day.
More on how to get more protein into your day a little later…
Boosts bone health
Long-term studies have shown that protein has some pretty impressive benefits when it comes to bone health.
For example, according to The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, people that eat more protein looked to maintain their bone mass better as they aged, with a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
Supports muscle growth
Our muscles are made up primarily of protein.
Eating your required amount of protein each day will help you maintain your muscle mass, and in conjunction with strength training, promotes muscle growth.
If you are on a weight loss journey, maintaining a high protein intake can also help prevent muscle loss.
Having a high protein intake has been shown to boost metabolism and the number of calories you burn – which can be up to 80-100 calories more per day.
Maintains weight loss
As you might’ve guessed, because protein boosts your metabolism and fat burning capabilities, it’s therefore helpful in maintaining weight loss.
One study by the National Library of Medicine, showed that increasing protein from 15% to 18% of daily calorie intake reduced weight gain by 50 per cent.
How to eat more protein
Every individuals protein needs will differ, so to find out your optimum daily intake you are best to speak a health professional.
As mentioned, our nutrition coaches here at Equalution can create a custom full-day meal plan for you, using delicious recipes we’ve created in-house, that are catered to your health goals and daily targets – including protein intake.
You can find out more about our program, and sign up, here.
Some simple ways to get more protein are:
- Snack on protein-packed goodies like Greek Yoghurt, nuts, cheese, protein bars etc.
- Add legumes to your soups and salads
- Eat a palm-sized portion of lean meat at least 2-3 times per week (if not plant-based)
- Add eggs into your diet – omelettes, frittatas, boiled in salads, you name it!
- There are also protein shakes and supplements you can add to your morning oats, smoothies, pancakes, etc. Consult your health professional if you’d like to start using supplements such as these.