Your body needs protein and getting enough should be on everyone’s priority list. It’s important to be consuming enough protein, but it’s also a good idea to know all about it, which makes it easier to make healthy choices. A protein deficiency is pretty rare, but experts say that most Americans could be getting more. Here’s everything you ever needed or wanted to know about protein. Use this info to get and stay as healthy as you can, no matter your age.
1. Pretty Much Every Body System Uses Protein
Protein is the building block for many of your body’s functions. That includes keeping your muscles strong and healthy, regulating hormones and maintaining healthy skin, nails and hair. You can generally tell if you aren’t getting enough protein because your skin will be dry, your hair and nails will be brittle and you’ll generally feel unwell. Boosting your intake can take care of these issues.
2. Most Adults Need Two to Three Servings Each Day
It’s not hard to get enough protein if you include a bit at each meal during the day. This helps satisfy your daily needs. How much you need may differ from your best friend or your boyfriend, so talk to your doctor about how much is appropriate for you. In the meantime, have some protein each time you sit down for a meal and you should be covered.
3. Not All Protein is Created Equal
Protein comes in a lot of foods, but experts recommend lean choices, which allows you to reap the benefits of the protein without overdoing it on fat and calories. Chicken breasts, sirloin cuts of steak, pork chops, salmon, white fish and white meat turkey are all good choices. If you don’t eat meat, beans, eggs and low-fat dairy food are healthy substitutes. Mix and match your favorites so you don’t get bored with eating the same thing all the time.
4. Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
In general, a serving of meat is about 3 ounces. When it comes to eggs, just one is enough. An ounce of cheese, 2 tablespoons of nut butter or a cup of beans also constitute a serving of protein. If you need to, weigh and measure your protein foods until you get more comfortable with proper portion sizes.
5. Use Caution if You’re a Vegetarian
When it comes to protein, there are complete proteins and incomplete proteins. In general, meats are good complete proteins. That means they provide all the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own. If you don’t eat meat, chances are you’re only eating incomplete proteins. However, combining them can help cover your needs. For example, eating beans and rice together creates a complete protein.
6. The Right Proteins Can Ward off Health Problems
Eating lean sources of protein can help reduce your risk for several health issues. That includes heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Be sure you are making good protein choices when you make your meals and you can help ensure that you stay healthy for many years to come.
7. Too Much Protein Can Be Bad
Just like too little protein can be bad, getting too much isn’t a good thing either. Some experts say that too much protein can tax your kidneys. It can also lead to leaching of minerals from your bones as well as contributing to weight gain and dehydration. In this case, more is not better.
What new thing did you learn about protein? Will you be watching your intake from now on?