The amount of protein you need depends on various factors like your activity level, age, muscle mass, and overall health. Let’s explore protein, why it’s important, and how it can affect different aspects of your life.
What is Protein and Why is it Important?
Proteins are like the building blocks of your body. They are used to create muscles, tendons, organs, skin, enzymes, hormones, and other vital substances. Proteins are made up of smaller units called amino acids. Some amino acids your body can make, but others, known as essential amino acids, you must get from your diet.
Different foods have different types of amino acids. Meats and dairy products usually have all the essential amino acids, while plant-based diets might have fewer. But with some research and planning, you can still get all the polypeptides you need from plant-based sources or supplements.
Protein and Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, protein can be your ally. When you eat protein, it can boost your metabolism, helping you burn more calories. Plus, it can make you feel full, reducing your appetite.
Studies have shown that a high-protein diet can lead to more weight loss and help prevent regaining weight. So, if you’re looking to shed some pounds.
Building Muscle and Strength
Muscles are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. To build more muscle, your body needs to make more muscle protein than it breaks down. This is where protein comes in.
A good guideline is to aim for around 1.6 grams of polypeptides per kilogram of your body weight per day to support muscle growth and performance.
Pregnant individuals need extra protein for the growth and development of their tissues and the baby’s. It’s recommended to consume around 70 grams of protein daily during pregnancy, which should make up about 10–35% of your daily calorie intake.
Breastfeeding parents also need more than usual. Lean meats, fish, dairy, and legumes are good sources of during pregnancy. Opt for fish with low mercury levels and high omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, and anchovies.
Avoid fish with high mercury content, such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel during pregnancy.
Other Situations That May Increase Protein Needs
If you’re physically active, whether due to your job or sports, you’ll need more polypeptides than someone who’s not as active. This includes endurance athletes and people with active jobs.
Older adults also require more protein, about 50% more than the recommended daily intake, to help prevent conditions like osteoporosis and sarcopenia, which are common among older individuals.
In a nutshell, protein is essential for various aspects of your health, from weight management to muscle building, and it’s especially crucial during pregnancy and as you age. Tailoring your polypeptide intake to your specific needs can have a positive impact on your overall well-being.