Protein is essential to good health. You need it to make the building blocks of the body, including muscle, bone, and blood. But how much protein does the average person need in order to stay healthy?
The answer isn’t as simple as you might think. Most Americans take in about 15 percent of their calories from protein, which is well within recommended daily requirements. However, some research suggests that higher-protein diets may help you maintain a healthy weight or preserve muscle health with aging.
The bottom line is that healthy diets are based on healthy foods, and some of those foods should be lean protein. The body breaks down the protein into amino acids and uses them to build muscle. Any protein left over is available to fuel energy needs. If you decide to boost your daily protein, consider its impact on your diet overall. Each gram of protein contains four calories.
To meet your daily protein requirements, combine small to medium portions of meat, dairy, and nuts with protein-rich whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. Here are some suggestions to guide your choices:
- Choose protein sources low in saturated fat. Examples are skinless chicken breast, salmon, Greek yogurt, legumes, eggs and nuts, especially almonds and walnuts.
- Avoid highly processed carbohydrates. Instead, focus on leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables.
- Commercial brands of protein powders and shakes may provide amino acids but generally offer limited nutritional value, contain added sugar or other caloric sweeteners, as well as artificial flavoring, color and preservatives. It is imperative to read nutrition facts on labels.
- Kenzen® Vital Balance Meal Replacement Mix contains only naturally-sourced organic vegetable protein (organic peas and rice), natural detoxifiers, (chlorella, cilantro) plus medium-chain triglycerides, pre- and probiotics, antioxidants from organic moringa and zero-calorie monk fruit as a natural sweetener. Each 120-calorie serving provides 39 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein. It’s a great way to replace fatty meats, and for vegetarians or vegans, is an ideal way to maintain enough protein in their meatless Active Wellness diets!