What is Protein?: Surprising Benefits of a Small ChangeMarch 26, 2015
There were many days when I would eat breakfast in the morning and develop hunger pains soon afterwards. It didn’t make sense why I was hungry – I had just eaten! Then, two years ago, a good friend of mine signed up for a muscle competition. I soon realized why this was happening to me – I wasn’t eating enough protein (especially at breakfast!). Since then, I have tried to incorporate a healthy balance of protein in all my meals. Here are answers to some common questions about this essential component in a healthy diet:
What is Protein?
Protein is a chemical structure consisting of the following: carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen. It makes up 50% of the human body’s dry weight.
What are some of protein’s functions?
- Muscle tissue repair
- Hair and fingernail growth
- Oxygen transport
- Disease protection
How much protein do I need?
It is recommended to have approximately 1 gram of protein for every 1 pound of body weight. For example, an individual with a body weight of 100 pounds would require approximately 100 grams of protein in a day. (These statistics may also vary depending on a person’s activity level.) It is important to balance protein throughout the day. Between 25-30 grams of protein should be eaten at each meal/snack.
What are the benefits of protein in a weight loss and/or strengthening program?
- Build/repair muscle
- Increase fat-burning
- Reduce hunger pains
- Slowly release carbs into bloodstream, therefore, reducing fat storage
What are some examples of protein?
- Greek yogurt: 23 grams/8 ounces
- Eggs: 6 grams/1 egg
- Chicken breast : 24 grams/3 ounces
- Salmon: 23 grams/3 ounces
- Lentils: 13 grams/.25 cup
- Edamame: 8 grams/.5 servings
- Peanut butter: 8 grams/2 Tbsp
What are some of your favorite protein foods? If you have any good recipes for protein shakes, bars or anything else, please share in the comments below! (Also, check out Becky’s Protein Powder Pancakes!)