What is protein and how much do you need?

What is protein?

Protein is an essential macronutrient that the body uses to build muscle and keep our immune systems strong. In fact, every cell in the human body uses protein for growth and repair. Think of protein as the maintenance man of good health!

What are the best ways to meet your protein needs?

Protein is easy to incorporate into your diet! Check out this list of common foods that are protein rich:

  • Dairy, such as eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese
  • Lean meats, like fish, poultry and lean ground beef
  • Nuts, seeds and legumes, such as nut butters, peas, soy, rice and beans

A serving size of protein is about 3 to 4 ounces, the size of a deck of cards, or the size of your palm, and 1 ounce of cooked meat or fish has approximately 7 grams of protein. Focus on consuming protein at each meal, and spacing out meal intervals so that you’re eating every 3 to 5 hours.

Need a recipe idea? Here’s an easy turkey chili recipe that’s high in protein.

Don’t go overboard.
Even though protein is healthy, eating too much isn’t always a good thing. If we consume protein beyond what the body needs, this can have adverse effects on overall health, such as liver and kidney damage, and can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Aim to keep your protein intake between 10 to 35% of your daily caloric intake. Based on a 2000 calorie diet, that would equate to 50 to 175 grams of total protein per day.

Remember that what you eat is just one part of the equation. Finding a balance between physical activity, adequate sleep, optimal hydration and nutrition intake is the key to success.

CareZone Tip:
Start recording your daily food journal and calorie intake using the Journal feature in your CareZone app! Click here to learn more.

Article by Kim Denkhaus, a nutritionist and registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science. She’s CareZone’s contributing nutrition writer, and privately counsels clients in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Posted February 28, 2017 by rocky