You may have heard the term “macronutrients” before – these are nutrients that we need in large quantities. The three macronutrients are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Today, we’re going to focus on protein: what it is, the benefits of it, how much our bodies need, and the many sources of protein.
What is Protein?
Protein is a molecule made up of smaller molecules called amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids that you need to make protein. Protein is used to build and repair tissues and make enzymes and hormones, blood cells, and other important chemicals. It helps build muscles, bones, cartilage, skin, and blood. Your hair and nails are mostly made up of protein, as well!
Benefits of Protein?
Dietary protein can help stabilize blood sugar by slowing down digestion, as well as help you build more muscle (as long as you’re exercising!). Protein can help keep our metabolism running and our energy levels up.
How much do we need?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is 0.8 gram per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
According to WebMD:
• Teenage boys and active men can get all the protein they need from three daily servings for a total of seven ounces.
• For children, age 2 to 6, most women, and some older people, the government recommends two daily servings for a total of five ounces.
• For older children, teen girls, active women, and most men, the guidelines give the nod to two daily servings for a total of six ounces.
How much is too much?
While some think there’s no way you can have too much protein, others disagree. There are concerns about ketosis or GI problems. Working on having a balanced, sustainable diet with a healthy amount of protein, carbs, and fats is what is best for our bodies. Our bodies need all three macronutrients to function properly, so treat it well!
Sources of Protein
There are multiple sources of protein, most popular would be meat, poultry, or protein supplements. Here are some foods that are high in protein:
• Beans, Lentils
As far as protein shakes go, there are many different options on the market that are available. It is easy to find whey, soy, or plant-based proteins depending on your preferences.
This post is contributed by Samantha Thayer, Online Outreach and Education Specialist from What’s Up, USANA?. For more information on health, feel free to visit their blog or find them on Twitter @USANAInc.