Protein is the building component of the human body. It is considered a macronutrient, meaning that you need it in fairly large quantities to maintain good health. Each of the over 100 trillion cells in your body is composed of protein. Every one of these cells contains thousands of proteins. Clearly, protein is essential for health. Animal-based protein can be found in foods like beef, cottage cheese, chicken, fish and eggs. Proteins from plant sources include legumes such as beans, lentils and peas; seeds like hemp and sesame; and nuts such as almonds and cashews.
Proteins play the role of strengthening and building muscles, hormones and bones; repairing cells and replacing body tissues. When your protein intake is more than what the body requires, it is stored as fats and converted to sugar: a recipe for disaster if left unchecked. In the worst case scenario, it can lead to serious illnesses like cancer. Insufficient consumption of protein has health consequences too, among them being low immunity, muscle loss, bone weakness, joint pains, sarcopenia and osteoporosis. Therefore, you need to know how much protein you should take in any given day.
On average, the amount of protein required to sustain your health, also called the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein ranges between 0.5 to 1 grams per pound of your body weight. Therefore, an adult weighing 160 pounds should consume at least 80 grams of protein daily. Even so, the RDA of protein is not uniform for all because it is dependent on one’s activity level, age, health status and fitness goals. If your lifestyle is physically active or you are a sports person for example, then with a protein intake of 0.5 – 0.7 grams per pound of your body weight, you are good to go. Additionally, the elderly need more protein to reduce declining muscle and bone strength. Hence, 0.5 – 0.6 grams of protein per pound of their body weight is recommended. The same range of protein consumption applies to expectant and lactating mothers.
Furthermore, the injured require a lot of protein intake for the successful and timely healing of their wounds. For example, patients who have sustained extensive burn wounds can be on a high protein diet of up to 1.5 grams per pound of their body weight. Again, high protein intake can also help you achieve your fitness goal of gaining muscles. Consuming 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight is the ideal if this is the case. Conversely, should you want to lose weight, increasing your protein intake by 0.3 times more will do the trick. This is because proteins suppress hunger pangs causing you to eat less. However, if you are leading a sedentary lifestyle, then a protein consumption of 0.3 to 0.4 grams per pound of your body weight will suffice.
Your health is your wealth. Observing your RDA of protein will pay dividends in the long run. Your body will function optimally for a lengthy period of time. Besides, you will enjoy a stable blood sugar level, reduced brain fatigue and have a robust life.