What is protein?
Protein is important for the re-growth and repair of damaged cells. This is important for our bodies to develop appropriately. Protein is found especially in our muscles, bones, and skin. Protein is especially important for children, adolescents, and pregnant women.
How much do we need?
The amount of protein an individual need varies base on weight and their overall health. Some reasons an individual may need more protein is because they are on chemotherapy, have multiple wounds, or has had a significant unintentional weight loss. For the general healthy population, two to three servings of protein-rich foods will meet the daily needs of most adults.
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Some examples of serving sizes of protein are 3 ounces of cooked meat, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, an ounce of cheese, or an egg. Other good sources of protein include beans, nuts, seeds, tofu, and dairy products like milk.
What do we need to look out for when adding protein to our diet?
Eating foods high in protein is a great idea to stay healthy. However, it is important to look at the food item as a whole. For example, 6 ounces of a ham steak has about two and a half grams of saturated fat (fat that clogs arteries) and contains about 2000 mg or more of sodium (salt) -which is over what is recommended for sodium in a day. A great alternative would be 6 ounces of wild salmon which has thirty-four grams of protein, has less than two grams of saturated fat, and is naturally low in salt.