As we all seem to be moving less and eating more the natural consequences are weight gain. One of the quick changes, you can make is to increase your daily protein intake. Are you eating the optimum amount of proteins every day? How important are they to our daily life? The answer is VERY IMPORTANT! After water our bodies are mostly composed of proteins. Proteins are the main component of all our cells and are essential to life. Proteins are often called “the building blocks of life”. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics “proteins have complex structures and are made up of many smaller units called amino acids”. These are linked together in a chemical bond forming a long chain. Some of these amino acids are called “essential”, meaning they are crucial for life but cannot be produced by the human body and must be gained through one’s diet.”
There are many different types of proteins in the body. For example:
- Muscle mass is made of protein
- Collagen which provides strength and structure to tissues (e.g. cartilage)
- Skin, hair and nails which are mainly composed of proteins
- Hemoglobin in your blood transports oxygen around the body
- Most hormones which act as your body’s chemical messengers are also made of proteins
- Enzymes which regulate all aspects of metabolism; they support important chemical reactions that allow you to digest food, generate energy to contract muscles, and regulate insulin production
- Antibodies which play a role in your immune response
The Cleveland Clinic polled dietitians on their top four sources of protein, and the winners were:
- Beans and legumes — meaning all types of dried beans, split peas and lentils
- Wild salmon
- Plain Greek yogurt ( no added sugar)
According to the same source, these additional foods in your diet will help you improve cognitive function, including memory, decision making ability, mental response time and your daily mood. Brain power foods contain antioxidants and other nutrients that protect the brain. They also provide essential fatty acids that stimulate and strengthen brain cells. Try including some of these healthy brain foods in your diet and see an improvement in your mental focus while you protect your brain’s health. Leafy green vegetables, salmon and other cold-water fish, berries and dark-skinned fruits, coffee and chocolate.( YEA), as well as extra virgin olive oil or cold pressed virgin coconut oil
So, get out your calculator and find out your personal protein recommended daily allowance in grams, Health.com recommends calculating 0.36 by your weight in pounds. So, 150 pounds multiplied times.36 = 54 grams of protein, at least, per day. “The trick is dividing it by your three meals a day if you are aiming for “optimal protein usage,” to help maintain muscle as you age and support weight loss. ” Health.com study suggests adults over the age of 50 plan to get 15-20 grams of protein at each meal. A 4-ounce roasted chicken breast gives you just over 25 grams of protein. Just one egg has about 6 grams of protein and only 71 calories. Edamame ( soy beans) can often be found in the frozen section and makes a great low-calorie snack. Bonus: It’s also high in fiber. Four ounces has 12 grams of protein and 136 calories. Cottage cheese is low in calories—four ounces has 14 grams of protein and 81 calories.
Learn to read labels to see what you are eating. Do your calculations for just a month and see the change in your body, to see it function at peak performance. Extra benefit you will lose some of the COVID 15!