How much protein do I need?
I think I’m lacking in protein, I eat a relatively balanced diet and include meat but I read it’s difficult to get enough protein. What are your thoughts on this? With thanks – Susie.
Hi Susie. Protein is an essential macronutrient. It supplies us energy, helps our bodies recover and is a critical part of our immune system. Proteins are composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle and other body proteins.
In the Western world it’s pretty difficult to become protein deficient if you eat a varied diet consisting of whole foods.
The reasons you may not be getting enough protein are fairly straightforward such as, not consuming enough food in general (low energy/calorie restrictive diet), you’re following a restricted diet such as a vegetarian or vegan diet, or if you have some digestive systems problems. If it is the latter, you may not absorb the amino acids from your proteins foods effectively. If you don’t eat enough food, your body may not have enough amino acids for building muscles, immunity, and healthy hair, skin and nails etc.
Science currently suggests that the average person needs to consume somewhere between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. On average, this suggests that for a person who weighs 70kg, that would be about 55 grams of protein per day.
But consuming ‘‘adequate’’ amounts of protein depends on a number of factors including: your physical activity, age, current muscle mass or current state of health (particular medical conditions can require higher or lower consumptions of protein). Furthermore, nothing in nature is 100 per cent protein. Many people have been misinformed about how much protein they actually need for optimal health.
I’m a health coach and Iwanted to knowwhat your top three health tips would be for anyone wanting to lead a healthier lifestyle? Thanks, Chrystal.
Hi Chrystal. It’s difficult to choose just three – but I think these tips are great for anyone wanting to improve their health and wellbeing, regardless of their current health status;
1. Instead of focusing on eating less of something that isn’t good for you, focus on eating more whole real food.
2. Become breath aware. A lot of people live on adrenalin and it can cause a host of problems. Diaphragmatic breathing lowers stress hormones more effectively than anything.
3. Stay in touch with what a gift life is. When we feel grateful we can’t be stressed.
Dr Libby’s next Beautiful You Weekend is being held in Auckland on June 11 and 12. Visit drlibby.com for more information about this special event.
For vegetarians or vegans, almonds and some other nuts are a good source of protein.