How to Add More Protein to Your Diet
August 22, 2019
You probably know someone on high protein diet who raves about their energy, weight loss and overall good health. Is this for real? Yes! There are four major areas of your health that benefit from a high protein diet.
Fitness – helps provide energy, recovery after exercise, build lean muscle and reduce muscle loss.
Weight – satisfies cravings, helps maintain digestive health and boosts metabolism.
Protection – protein helps form antibodies to fight infection and protect your body.
Beauty – provides structure, strength and protection for your hair, nails and skin.
What is the function of protein?
Amino acids are sequenced together in different combinations to perform almost every biological process. These sequences turn proteins into:
- Antibodies for immune system support
- Enzymes to aid in energy, digestion and weight loss
- Hormones to regulate insulin
- Structural components including collagen, keratin, elastin, muscles, tissues, cell membranes
- Carriers such as hemoglobin to transport oxygen and other necessary molecules
Protein is a macronutrient which means we need a lot of it. Since humans can’t make or store essential proteins, we need to constantly replenish them. Low protein intake can lead to brittle hair, stunted growth, loss of muscle mass or tone, inflammation and skin problems.
How much protein do I need every day?
On average people should be consuming protein depending on their weight. According to the National Academy of Medicine, the RDA should be 0.36 grams for every pound (0.36 x your weight in lbs). However, this is the minimum and intake depends on weight, age, activity levels and your overall health condition. Talk to your health care provider about what’s right for you.
High protein foods
It’s easy to add these tasty, high protein foods to your day.
- Lean meat: boneless pork chops, skinless chicken and turkey breasts, top or bottom round steak
- Fresh seafood: yellowfin tuna, halibut, tilapia, sockeye salmon, certain tuna
- Dairy: Greek yogurt, eggs, milk (whey protein), some cheeses
- Plant-based: soy, lentils, peanut butter, nuts – peanuts, almonds, cashews, tofu, edamame, green peas, quinoa
- Snacks: smoothies, shakes, bars, trail mix, yogurt parfait, vegetables, hummus, hard-boiled eggs, apples or celery and peanut butter, pumpkin seeds
If these high protein foods appeal to you and you like the benefits they provide, it might be time to try them out.