Protein is an essential nutrient for building and maintaining healthy tissues such as muscle mass.
Getting enough protein can also help you keep your skin, hormones, and metabolism healthy.
You can get protein from both plants and animal products. Here's how much protein you can find in 20 common foods.
Protein is one of three essential macronutrients in food, and a key ingredient for building and repairing cells and tissues.
Getting enough protein in your diet helps to support your immune system, maintain good digestion and metabolism, regulate hormones, and keep your skin healthy.
It's also crucial for building and maintaining muscle mass and helping your muscle recover after a workout to grow back stronger. Including plenty of protein in your meals can help stabilize blood sugar and appetite and aid weight loss and fat burning, according to dietitians.
The amount of protein you need varies depending on your size, age, and activity level. A general recommendation is .36 grams per pound of body weight daily for the average person — at least 58 grams per day for a 160 pound person.
Physically active people and athletes should get at least 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily.
For an active 160 pound person, that's a recommendation of between 80 grams to 128 grams per day.
Up to a gram of protein per pound of body weight, or 1.6 grams for athletes, is considered safe and healthy, according to research. Having too much protein long-term may cause issues with digestion or kidney health.
You can meet your daily protein needs through a variety of food sources.
Plant-based protein sources include legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Animal-based proteins include meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
Including a variety of sources in your diet can help you get complete proteins, or the right combination of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) for optimal health.
Here's how many grams per serving are in common food sources of protein.
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