Proteins are incredibly important to the human body as they help repair cells and make new ones. They are the building blocks for all tissue repair, metabolic functions, and antibodies that help your body defend against infections (bonfirehealth.com).
There are two different kinds of proteins: Complete and Incomplete. Complete proteins are found in animal products and contain virtually all the essential amino acids need to help keep your body fit and healthy. Incomplete proteins are found in grains, nuts, beans, and vegetables and provide a limited array of amino acids. In order to get the same amount of amino acids as in complete proteins, you need to eat a larger amount of incomplete proteins (bonfirehealth.com).
There is no blanket requirement for everyone when it comes to how much protein you should be eating. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (the minimum amount you need to be healthy) is .36 grams per pound of your body weight per day. However, this is just the recommendation and most Americans can achieve this easily by following a typical western diet (health.com).
While the recommended amount of daily protein intake will keep the average person healthy, it is suggested that active people, people trying to lose weight, and middle-aged people should try to eat more than the recommended amount.
If you are getting at least 35 to 40 minutes of moderate exercise a minimum of four days a week, you should consider eating about .5 to .9 grams of protein per pound, according to Nancy Rodriguez, PhD, professor nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut. Boosting your protein intake is essential for rebuilding the muscle you tear down during your workout.
Since protein takes longer to digest than carbs, it will help you feel fuller longer which pushes your body to secrete the gut hormone peptide YY, reducing hunger. (health.com). “When you bring protein to about 30 percent of your daily calories, you’ll naturally eat less,” says Lauren Slayton, RD, founder of Foodtrainers, a nutrition practice in New York City.
The older you get, the more susceptible you are to losing muscle and developing the bone disease osteoporosis. Eating the optimal protein amount (approximately double the Recommended Daily Allowance) works out to be about 15 to 25 percent of your daily calories (health.com). Doing this will give help you maintain muscle and ward off osteoporosis.
20 Delicious High-Protein Foods
Article by Kris Gunnars, BSc, authoritynutrition.com
- Chicken Breast
- Cottage Cheese
- Greek Yogurt
- Lean Beef
- Whey Protein Supplements
- Ezekiel Bread
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Turkey Breast
- Fish (all types)
- Brussels Spouts
Recipe: Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon
Author: The Seasoned Mom
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 20 mins
- 4 salmon fillets, about 4 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (can substitute with mayonnaise)
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
- 10 grams (about 4 teaspoons) finely chopped pecans
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon dried garlic powder
- Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack over top. Spray rack with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, whisk together maple syrup and yogurt until smooth. Spread about 2 teaspoons of the syrup mixture on top of each salmon fillet.
- Mix remaining ingredients in a separate small bowl. Gently press approximately 1 tablespoon of the breadcrumb mixture onto the top of each fillet.
- Lightly spray each piece of fish with cooking spray or canola oil (this will help it turn crispy and brown).
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily with a fork and topping is browned and crispy.