Healthy Eating 5

Healthy Eating 5

Healthy eating tip 7: Put protein in perspective

Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body’s basic building blocks for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. While too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, the latest research suggests that most of us need more high-quality protein than the current dietary recommendations. It also suggests that we need more protein as we age to maintain physical function.

How much protein do you need?

Protein needs are based on weight rather than calorie intake. Adults should eat at least 0.8g of protein per kilogram (2.2lb) of body weight per day. A higher intake may help to lower your risk for obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

Older adults should aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each kilogram of weight. This translates to 68 to 102g of protein per day for a person weighing 150 lbs.

Divide your protein intake among meals but aim for 25 to 40g of high-quality protein per meal; less than 15g won’t benefit bone or muscle.

Get plenty of calcium (1,000 to 1,200 mg per day).

Source: Environmental Nutrition

The key to ensuring you eat high-quality protein is to try different types, rather than relying on red meat and whole milk dairy products which are high in saturated fat. Trying different healthy protein sources such as fish, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, chicken, and soy products will open up new options for healthy mealtimes.

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