Take a minute to think about your daily diet. Just how much protein are you consuming per day? Some people do not keep track of information like this, but protein is actually a very important macromolecule (along with carbohydrates and fats) made up of amino acids that is essential for the function of our bodies. There are 22 amino acids, and 9 essential amino acids. The 9 essential ones are the ones that cannot be produced by our cells alone, and must be delivered to our digestive system through the foods we eat over the course of the day. For those curious, the 9 essential ones are called histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine. Proteins are being broken down in our bodies constantly so it is important that we eat enough of them in order to replenish our system. A few different types of proteins include, but are not limited to, structural, hormonal, & enzymatic proteins. These are not just scientific sounding names. Each of these types of proteins work to help our bodies do things like break down food, grow our hair & nails, build our immune systems, and keep blood sugar levels at bay.
These are some foods that you can incorporate into your diet in order to provide your body the protein that it needs.
- Meats like chicken, turkey, pork, & lean beef
- Eggs (the whites are the main source of protein but whole eggs are good for you as well)
- Beans & legumes
- Nut butters, nuts & seeds (I prefer almonds)
- Seafood (salmon,tilapia, tuna, halibut, etc.)
- Greek yogurt (low fat preferably)
- Milk (2%)
- Cottage cheese
Being in college, I sometimes find it hard to make sure I am getting enough protein because the food options are limited. Most of the food in my cafeteria includes things that I love, but would prefer not to eat every single day like pizza, ice cream, cereal, grilled cheese, etc. Using the local food store near my school, I have made sure to buy some of the items I mentioned above to have in my dorm in order to make sure my protein intake meets my body’s needs. Personally, I prefer to consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day. I do lead an active lifestyle though that includes lifting weights, and cardio. Everyone’s daily intake can differ though depending on your lifestyle. Even if you are not an active person, protein is still so vital for your body.
I have used this link in the past in order to calculate estimates for my daily macronutrient intakes. I do not hit the exact number that I need every day, and sometimes I go over, but if you are interested in finding out more about this topic, check out this link! The bodybuilding website as a whole has actually been a great tool for me. There are free workout plans, meal plans, and overall just a lot of beneficial information for those who take interest in health-related topics! Thanks for reading(: