The Body’s Building Block: Protein
What’s the big deal about protein? Did you know, protein keeps your body running smoothly, and it’s essential for building muscles, bones, cells, and tissues throughout the body? It’s often called the building block of the body, and it’s an important part of a healthy diet.
Most people associate meat with protein, but there are several other sources that might be better for you. While protein rich, certain cuts of red meat also have high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol, which you want to avoid. It’s wise to eat a variety of protein-rich foods so you can avoid unhealthy consequences of consuming too much fat. Healthier, lower-fat, protein-rich options include:
- Skinless chicken breasts
- Egg whites (egg yolks are high in fat and cholesterol)
- Peanut butter
- Low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese, including cottage cheese
- Whole grains including quinoa
- Lentils and beans
- Soy products like tofu and soy milk
- Protein-fortified pastas
- Protein meal replacement bars
Keep in mind that in the U.S. and other developed countries, people rarely suffer from a lack of protein. In fact, most people get more than twice their daily requirement. A balanced diet is best, so you don’t overload on protein, unless you’re an athlete or pregnant. Most women need about 50 grams of protein per day, while men need about 60 to 70 grams. To help with our math, there are approximately 7 grams of protein in 1 oz of meat or meat substitute. Therefore, two to three servings a day should be adequate for most people.
Jazz up your diet with these protein alternatives and ensure a strong body that’s ready to tackle all of life’s challenges!