Protein: The macro nutrient your body craves
Protein is essential for life and accounts for 20% of the body's composition. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body and is used to build and repair tissues. It is an important building block for the bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, hair, nails, eyes, and blood as well as hormone regulation.
If protein is not supplied, the body compensate through other areas and use the protein from our muscles, or the repair process will begin to shut down. Muscles need a constant supply of protein to continue the building process. And as we age, our muscle mass begins to break down naturally, so protein becomes even more important when we are older.
Protein deficiency symptoms include hair thinning or loss, lethargy, poor recovery from illness and nail, skin weakening, hormone disruptions and so much more.
Eating a protein with a carbohydrate at every meal/snack is ideal for energy and stable blood sugars. It also increases satiety, stable blood sugar (less cravings), and reduces insulin response which helps with fat loss. This also helps balance hormones, as insulin helps regulate our hormones. This is especially important in women going through hormonal changes.
Protein Digestion requires an increased amount of energy and diets higher in protein will also lead to increased calories burned. But this doesn't necessarily mean that by increasing protein your calorie burn increases, as you can increase calorie burning with carbohydrates as well. Remember, in order for your body to burn FAT it needs a fuel source to light that flame - Carbohydrates are the main source of that fuel.
Those who go through a full body change for a healthier lifestyle feel younger and stronger. Why? They are repairing and increasing the protein cells that were lost with adequate protein, clean foods, exercise, and water. In a sense you could say that they are generating a new body. How cool is that?
What are good sources of animal protein?
Always choose a lean and low saturated fat animal protein
· Chicken: breast or thigh meat, Ground chicken
· Turkey: breast or thigh meat, Ground turkey (breast or dark, watch fat percentages)
. Cornish Game Hen
· Bison: steaks, ground, or stew meat
· Beef: lean cuts include sirloin, round steak, filet mignon
· Albacore tuna (in water)
· Canned tuna (in water)
· Mahi Mahi
· Salmon - wild caught
· Sea Bass
· Eggs: whole eggs or egg whites
. Dairy: yogurt, cottage cheese, milk
**THESE ARE NOT COMPLETE LISTS, JUST EXAMPLES**
What are great sources of plant protein?
. Soy (Tufu)
. Nutritional Yeast
. Pea Protein
So the next question is how much should I be eating?
To figure out how much protein you should be consuming, there is a simple math equation that uses the basics of everything discussed above and how it works with your body. However, this equation changes with your age, nutritional needs and your personal health goals. Here are just a few of the ways to figure out how much protein you should be consuming.
Example 1: For an older person 45 years old and up with no weight loss goals or additional nutritional needs you would take your weight and multiply it by .36 - this is your total grams needed. EX: 165 lb. 50 year old woman would require 59.4 grams of protein a day for a sedentary lifestyle.
Example 2: For an active athletic 45 year old that works out and lifts 5+ days a week - their protein intake would be considerably higher than the 50 year old sedentary woman. For this situation you would take the persons weight and multiply it by .5 - 1.5 depending on the weights and activity level. EX: 45 year old man weighing 185 that lifts heavy weights 6 days a week and has an active job as a construction worker - they would need to consume 185 grams of protein daily to maintain and build muscle
Example 3: For a woman or man trying to lose weight the protein intake should be 25-30% of their daily calories OR 1 gram of protein per pound of their IDEAL body weight/GOAL WEIGHT. These numbers can vary greatly depending on your end goals - this measurement should be used with caution and discussed with a Coach or weight loss expert.
In the end your protein intake should be what works best for you and your body - if you have any questions or concerns reach out to a Coach or weight loss expert.