Protein is an important component of muscle and bone strength and weight loss and it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough.
But what are the specific benefits, how much should we be eating and what are some of the best food sources of protein?
As we age, we lose muscle mass. Protein is necessary to build muscle. Eating enough protein helps maintain muscle mass and helps muscle growth when you strength train. (Which everyone should be doing, especially as we age). Making sure you’re getting enough protein (and strength training) will make sure that you lose fat during weight loss, not muscle.
Adequate protein intake helps maintain bone mass reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Just as protein is a building block for muscles, it also builds and repairs bones.
Getting enough protein helps with weight loss.
Protein provides satiety (a feeling of fullness) and digests slowly. This means, you feel fuller when you eat it and you stay fuller compared to eating carbs, especially simple carbs that your body digests quickly. So if you’re trying to eat less, making sure you’re getting enough protein at each meal and snack will help you feel full, stay full and eat less.
So how much protein is adequate?
To increase muscle mass, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends (in addition to physical activity) between 1.2 and 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume 75- 120 grams of protein a day.
Some great sources of protein:
Chicken breast – 53g
Greek yogurt – 6 oz – 17 g
Canned tuna – 1 cup – 39 grams
Almonds – 6 g per ounce
Eggs – 6 g each
Cottage cheese – 1 cup 27 g
Lentils – 1 cup boiled – 18 g
Other nuts and meats are also a great source.
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