Protein is a macronutrient, meaning it provides us with calories—a.k.a. energy. And our bodies need large amounts of energy to survive. Chemically, protein is made up of chains of amino acids, nine of which are known as “essential” amino acids—meaning the body cannot produce them. Therefore, we need to get these essential amino acids from the food we eat. The amino acid chains in protein are broken down during digestion to build and repair muscle, boost energy levels, and increase metabolism along with many other vital functions.
To put it simply: Protein helps our bodies stay strong.
But, just how much protein do we really need?
Before you start changing the amount of protein in your diet or the source of that protein, it’s important to learn the facts about this essential nutrient to ensure you’re following the best diet plan for your body. According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) established by the National Academy of Medicine, we need about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight. This amounts to roughly 56 grams per day for the average male and 46 grams a day for the average female. Additionally, the USDA reports that the amount of protein we need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity (https://www.choosemyplate.gov/protein-foods).
Once you figure out just how much protein you need based on the parameters above, then it’s time to address the question of how to include it in your diet. Here are some of the top protein sources to choose from:
- Lean Meat
This is the obvious one, but it’s important to note the term “lean” here. If the meat you’re consuming, such as regular ground beef or chicken with the skin still on, is not lean, then you’re actually getting less protein from it and more calories from fat especially saturated fats. When grocery shopping, aim for leaner cuts of meat, such as skinless chicken breasts or sliced turkey instead.
Eating one seafood meal a week can do amazing things for our bodies—such as helping to clear up skin, boost metabolism, and fill us with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If fish is your only source of animal protein, it’s recommended that you limit yourself to just a couple meals a week to keep your mercury levels down. If you’re primarily a pescatarian, it’s good to get protein from other sources—such as protein supplements, fresh veggies, and yogurt.
- Nuts and Seeds
This is a good option for those who are vegan or vegetarian because nuts and seeds are loaded with protein and healthy fatty acids. Nut protein can be found in nut-based milks, nut butters, and low-sugar granola bars. Although nuts are packed with protein and healthy vitamins, they don’t contain all of the essential amino acids we need daily, which is why a plant-based protein supplement is a great addition to your diet. We recommend trying our new Life Shake™, which contains 20 grams of protein per serving with precise ratios of all 9 essential amino acids.
- Protein Supplements & Shakes
Protein supplements and shakes are a great way to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of protein every day, and they can keep you feeling satisfied, which aids in weight management. Our new Life Shake is vegan, gluten-free, low glycemic, and filled with healthy nutrients to help you create the foundation for a longer, healthier life. Plus, it’s Powered by Leucine®, a key essential amino acid, to help you build lean muscle, burn fat, improve metabolism, and reduce cravings. It’s a great option for vegetarians or vegans as well as those who lead an incredibly busy lifestyle—it can be tough to find the time to prepare a full meal sometimes. Plus, Life Shake tastes great, which is always a huge plus!
Protein is a superfood, full of the essential nutrients you need to live your best life now!