Protein ~ The King of Lean!
Are you one of those women who has blood sugar highs and lows that lead to cravings and moodiness? If you've answered yes then it's quite possible that you could be depriving yourself of one of the most important macronutrients needed by the body - protein. Many women do make the mistake of being on calorie restrictive diets and depriving themselves leading to the unpleasant symptoms of highs, lows, cravings and generally not feeling their best.
On a protein-rich diet, you will feel completely satiated after eating and you'll be amazed to see how many foods you can eat. Protein is essential to our health and we need to eat plenty of it daily to keep our metabolism optimised, for increased energy and stable blood sugar levels.
Protein is essential for building muscle, burning fat, and for metabolism (the key to long-term weight loss). It also improves your ability to learn and concentrate, to make brain chemicals that help calm us down and eliminate stress, reduce foggy brain, boost energy levels, support your muscles and bones and the absorption of important nutrients. In addition to building lean muscle tissue, many of your organs, cells and tissues require protein for proper regeneration. Protein is also essential in the healing process including cuts, burns and wounds - we need protein to heal and to be healthy! Protein from foods is used by every single part of the body to develop, grow and function properly and our organs, muscles, tissues and hormones are all made from proteins.
Suffice to say protein is involved in just about every bodily function and a deficiency can wreak havoc with your body!
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO YOU NEED?
Something I get asked on a regular basis is "How much protein do I need?"
First and foremost let's work on what you would need for general health and longevity. To simplify the maths, work out your weight in pounds and consume about 50 percent of your body weight in grams of protein per day Therefore if you weight 130 pounds and your goal is general health, then I would recommend having about 65 grams of protein a day in your diet. That would equate to roughly 22 grams of protein per meal.
If you're looking to really burn body fat then I would recommend you increase your protein amount to 0.7 grams to 0.75 grams of protein a day to accelerate fat burning. That means more protein and less carbs. So if you weight 130 pounds, then multiply that figure by 0.7 to 0.75, which would mean consuming 91 grams to 97 grams of protein per day. You would try and spread that over three or four meals.
If your goal is to pack on more muscle then it is advised to eat the same amount of protein in grams as your bodyweight in pounds. So in this case a 130 pound woman would consume 130 grams of protein per day.
HOW TO GET THE BEST POSSIBLE SOURCES OF PROTEIN INTO YOUR DIET
Some of the best forms of protein are foods like grass-fed beef, free-range/organic chicken and turkey, free-range eggs, and high-quality grass-fed protein powder.
Bone Broth has become very popular and 1 serving (¼ cup) of bone broth will give you 20 grams of protein. There are protein powders made from bone broth which are packed with amino acids that support gut health and detoxification. It is packed with potassium, calcium, selenium and magnesium. Bone broth is amazing for joint health, boosting your immune system and for collagen.
Wild-caught salmon is one of my favourite choices for protein (not least because it is great for inflammation) and one of the healthiest foods around. Salmon is great for every aspect of your health, including your cells, heart, brain, bones, eyes and skin. It is high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and high in the vitamin B's; vitamin D; selenium; and potassium. 105g salmon is equal to 20 grams of protein.
Black beans and lentils are both high-protein foods that can be consumed by vegetarians/vegans. Black beans are an excellent source of fibre and great for controlling blood sugar levels.
Besides ticking the protein box, lentils are full of fibre, folate, manganese, iron, potassium, and B vitamins. The protein in lentils help boost cardiovascular health, aid digestion, regulate blood sugar levels and help keep the body alkaline. Besides getting some protein from certain types of beans and even particular grains (such as gluten free oats) that have lower to moderate levels of protein, you can also obtain moderate amounts in seeds and nuts (such as almonds, chia seeds and flaxseeds).
Protein is vital for our health and it's important to check if you're meeting your daily needs. However, proteins and starches are acid, vegetables and fruits are alkaline. Just about all of the metabolic wastes of the body are acids so we need to eat alkaline forming foods like fruits and vegetables to help neutralize these acid wastes. You should ensure you get at least 10 servings of vegetables per day, which sounds like a lot but it equates to roughly five cups! In addition to this try and eat two fruits per day for optimal health
Below is an extensive list of protein foods to help you reach your daily protein intake.
THE FOLLOWING FOODS CONTAIN 20 GRAMS OF PROTEIN
- 159 grams eggs (3 whole eggs)
- 5 egg whites
- 80 grams canned tuna (packed in water)
- 21 grams protein powder (whey isolate)
- 87 grams chicken breast
- 80 grams turkey
- 143 grams codfish
- 75 grams shrimps
- 105 grams lean beef
- 105 grams ground beef
- 167 grams tofu
- 88 grams sardines
- 182 grams mussels
- 138 grams quorn
- 33 grams spirulina
- 118 grams scallops
- 194 grams Greek yoghurt
- 400 grams fat free yoghurt
- 121 grams feta cheese
- 185 grams edamame (soy beans)
- 103 grams tempeh (fermented soy)
- 235 grams lentils
- 250 grams red kidney beans
- 1 cup of black beans
- 313 grams chick peas
- 1/4 cup bone broth
- 222 grams surimi
- 105 grams salmon
- 179 grams cottage cheese