Most American adults consume about 100 grams of protein per day. But, is that enough?
Most likely, if you are an active individual, you need to eat more protein.
Keep reading to find out!
What are Proteins?
Proteins are organic molecules that consist of the building blocks of life – amino acids.
When consumed, the body breaks down each protein molecule and absorbs these amino acids. They then get into our bloodstream and travel through the body, lending themselves where needed.
There are two types of protein, but let’s just focus on protein intake here.
Speaking of that…
The Vital Importance Of Protein
The amino acids from protein contribute to the plasma amino acid pool. This ‘storage’ for amino acids travels through the bloodstream and lends building blocks where needed.
For example, the body needs a wide variety of amino acids to produce hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. We also need amino acids for the creation of new cells and the removal of old and ‘worn-out’ ones.
Protein is also vital for muscle recovery and growth after strenuous physical activity. Some studies have found that protein plays a crucial role in the liberation and oxidation of fatty acids.
Some proteins also serve as carriers and transport various substances within the body. Such an example is hemoglobin – the primary carrier for oxygen.
Several Other Benefits Of Eating More Protein
Oh, but we are not done. Aside from its many health and fitness benefits, protein delivers some other advantages, including:
- Reduced appetite and fewer cravings;
- Improved bone health;
- A small boost in metabolic rate;
- Regulating blood pressure;
- Allows the body to heal itself quicker;
- Aids skin, hair, and nail health;
- Allows us to stay fit as we age.
As a whole, protein is vital for much more than muscle and strength gain. It plays a role in many processes within the body, and if we want to stay healthy and feel good, we should be trying to eat more protein. Around 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.
Protein-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
Here are some of the best protein sources:
- Meats and poultry;
- Fish and seafood;
- Cottage cheese;
- Greek yogurt;
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.);
On top of that, you can also get yourself a protein powder supplement. Some of the best ones include egg, whey, and casein protein. Protein powders are a great way to eat more protein when you can’t consume enough food.
Eat More Protein for Weight Loss
Protein is one of the most useful foods you can use for weight loss. It boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, and changes weight regulating hormones.
In fact, even digesting protein burns more calories than other macronutrients. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food. It’s minimal, but hey, it helps!
As mentioned above, protein also reduces appetite and cravings. Helping to reduce your overall calorie intake and keeping you fuller for longer.
Not sure what proteins you should be eating while trying to lose weight? Here is some help!
Proteins Low in Fat
Lean proteins, or proteins low in fats, contain fewer calories. The lower calorie intake will make it easier to stay below your daily caloric output and lose weight while you eat more protein.
Here are some low fat proteins to consider:
- White fish
- Skinless white meat poultry
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Lean beef
- Eat More Protein for Weight Gain
If you are trying to put on more weight, protein is a great way to help you gain lean muscle mass rather than body fat.
This is especially important for individuals who are training rigorously. The last thing you want to do is break your muscles down more than they can recover because you didn’t have enough protein.
Overall, weight gain comes down to getting more calories in than you put out throughout the day. Protein just ensures you put on the mass you want!
Five Ways to Eat More Protein Every Day
Are you still struggling to get enough protein in throughout the day? Here are five simple ways to eat more protein every day!
Eat Proteins First and With Every Meal
Try to consume foods high in protein at the beginning of your meal before moving on to starchy foods. Eating this way will help you feel full faster and reduce insulin spikes after a meal.
Eating protein with every meal will also keep protein levels up, keep you fuller for longer, and decrease your caloric intake without eating less food.
Snack Throughout The Day
Snacks like cheese, nuts or nut butter, and jerky can all help increase your protein intake. Switching to snacks like these is especially helpful if you are trying to lose weight and keep protein intake up!
Have Eggs or a Protein Shake for Breakfast
Eating eggs for breakfast will help you get protein first thing in the morning. Additionally, eggs keep you fuller for longer than foods like cereal or oats!
If you don’t have time to cook eggs in the morning, a simple protein shake is a quick substitute that offers many of the same benefits.
Add Nuts to Your Food
Chopped almonds are a healthy way to add protein to salads, yogurt, cottage cheese, or oatmeal! On top of the extra protein, almonds have numerous other health benefits.
Eat Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains about twice as much protein as traditional yogurt varieties. Additionally, it is an easy food to eat as a snack and, when frozen, is more of a treat than the other foods on this list.
What do You Think?
So, are you getting in enough protein? Or should you be eating more?
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