Protein is an essential nutrient, responsible for multiple functions in your body, building cells and muscles, hormones and anti-bodies. Everyone needs protein in their diet, an even increased quantity if you do endurance sports or weight training.
How much protein should I eat?
For most people a daily dose of around 0.8-1g of protein per 1kg of body weight is recommended. Weightlifters and strength athletes need around 1.4 – 2 g of protein per kg of body weight every day. Endurance athletes need around 1.2-1.6 g of protein per kg of body weight daily. Protein is particularly important after exercise since muscles need it to recover and rebuild tissue. A portion of protein (15-25g) is recommended within 30 minutes of exercise.
Can I eat too much protein?
For most people, the daily protein requirements are easily achieved with a healthy, balanced diet. The recommended daily intake of protein is 55g for the average man and 45-50g for the average woman. This will vary over your lifetime and depend on your individual circumstance (athletes will require more protein than someone living a sedentary lifestyle).
It’s recommended to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended protein intake. Consuming too much protein in the long term might lead to the worsening of existing health problems.
High protein foods
Both plants and animals provide sources of proteins – here are some of the best food sources of protein.
Animal sources of proteins (grams of proteins for every 100g product)
Eggs have around 13g of protein per 100g product.
Dairy products – 100g of milk contains around 3g of protein, while 100g of cheddar cheese contains around 25g of protein.
Fish and seafood – Fish has around 22g protein/100g product, salmon has 20g protein/100g product, tuna has 28g protein/100g product, mackerel 24g protein/100g product, cod has around 18g protein/100g product. Shrimp has around 24g protein/100g product.
Chicken and turkey – Chicken has around 21g protein/100g product, while turkey 29 protein/100g portion.
Lean beef has 26g protein/ 100g product.
Vegetable sources of proteins (grams of proteins for every 100g product)
Soy – Per 100g, soy beans have around 15g of protein.
Nuts and seeds – There are certain types that are particularly protein rich: almonds, cashews, chia seeds and flaxseeds are all popular protein options. Mixed nuts have 20g protein/100g product, walnuts 15g protein/100g product, cashews 18g protein/100g product, pistachio 20g protein/100g product, almonds have 21g protein/100g product, peanuts have 26g protein/100g product.
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Hempseeds have 30g protein/100g product, chia seeds have 17g protein/100g product, flaxseeds have 18g protein/100g product, pumpkin seeds have 19g protein/100g product and sunflower seeds have 21g protein/100g product.
Beans and pulses – Chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans and even baked beans are an easy way to power up your protein intake. There are also a range of grains such as oats, barley, rice and quinoa. 100g of cooked lentils have 9g of protein, 100g of quinoa have 6g of protein, 100g of brown rice have 2.6 g of protein.
Green beans has 1.8g protein/100g product, green peas have 5g protein/100g product, chickpeas has around 19g protein/100g product and kidney beans has 24g protein/100g product.
Brussels sprouts have 3.4g of protein for 100g product, while broccoli have 3g of protein/100g product.
Oats have 13g of protein for 100g of product.
Tofu has 8g of protein for 100g of product.
For most people, the daily protein requirements are easily achieved by a healthy, balanced diet. The recommended daily intake of protein is 55g for the average man and 45-50g for the average woman. This will vary over your lifetime and depend on your individual circumstance (athletes will require more protein than someone living a sedentary lifestyle).
It’s recommended to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended protein intake.
Animal proteins, such as meat, eggs, and milk, are complete proteins, meaning they provide all of the essential amino acids the body needs.
All fruits and vegetables contain protein, but the amounts are usually small. Vegetables with the most protein include broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts. They contain about 4–5 grams of protein per cooked cup.
Fresh fruits generally have a lower protein intake than vegetables. Those with the most protein include guava, mulberries, blackberries, nectarines and bananas, which have about 2–4 grams of protein per cup.
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What are your favorite sources of protein? Post your questions and comments below.