The Power of Protein

Protein is vital to your health and crucial to all your body's physiological functions. Consider it the fuel you need to keep all parts of your engine running optimally and on time. Protein can be found in a wide array of foods. Learn how to choose wisely.

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Eating the Right Amount

There is no hard and fast way to measure your required protein intake – but rather, there are a few: by percentage of calories, by weight and by age. This may be confusing, but the end numbers for all measures are not so much conflicting as they are inclusionary.

 The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) change with age:

  • Infants require about 10 grams a day.
  • Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
  • Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
  • Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
  • Adult women need about 46 grams a day.
  • Pregnant or lactating women need about 71 grams a day.

Try Them All: Protein Sources

Consider this: a 6-oz. porterhouse steak will provide 38 grams of protein – and 44 grams of fat, 16 of them saturated (three-quarters of the recommended daily intake). An equal portion of salmon will provide 34 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat, 4 of them saturated. A cup of cooked lentils will give you 18 grams of protein and only 1 gram of fat.  When choosing how you'll get your daily recommended dose of protein, try to incorporate as many plant-based sources first, then animal sources – and red meat last.

Meat

Lean cuts of beef and extra lean ground beef are good sources of complete proteins, but are also high in saturated fat. Limit your consumption of red meat and make it an only-sometimes option. Boneless and skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices. Meat portions should be about the size of a deck of cards. One chicken breast provides about 23 grams of protein.

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