You’ve undoubtedly heard the idea that protein is an important part of your diet, but what amount of protein is necessary each day? The answer depends on your age and sex, but generally speaking (according to the USDA), women need 46 grams of protein and men need 56 grams of protein. The source of protein that usually comes to mind first is meat or poultry or some kind of seafood. Meat remains a good source of protein, but, perhaps surprisingly, there are a number of protein-rich vegetables that can supplement or even replace meat.
Along with fats and carbohydrates, protein is one of the main macronutrients that our body uses for its energy needs and a variety of other functions. As a molecule, protein is one of the building blocks of life and is a constituent part of every cell in the human body. Proteins are made up of amino acids, and during digestion the body breaks them down into components that can be used to make new cells, repair old cells, and synthesize enzymes that are behind countless chemical reactions.
While the body can synthesize some proteins (mostly in the liver), there are some that can only be found in food. Getting sufficient sources of dietary protein is therefore the only way to get the nine essential amino acids the body needs to maintain health and normal function. If we don’t get enough protein, it can lead to protein deficiency and a host of related medical conditions. Protein is especially important in the development of children from birth through adolescence, but it is also important for building muscle and reducing the cognitive and physical decline associated with aging.
One common misconception about plant-based proteins is that they’re somehow inferior to those found in animal flesh. It’s true that animal proteins are technically “complete” since they contain all of the essential amino acids but simply eating a variety of vegetables can get you all those same essential amino acids. Below are some examples of protein-packed veggies that can be part of any healthy eating habit:
Even if you’re not ready to or interested in fully replacing meat in your diet with vegetables, there are many ways to get more vegetables into your daily meal planning. Beyond the protein content you can get from many vegetables, you can access the countless health benefits connected with eating more vegetables. Diets rich in vegetables have been connected to lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and digestive problems as well as a reduction in blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Below are some tips for getting more veggies into your life:
Adding protein-rich vegetables to your diet is great for overall health, but it can also be a boon for your weight loss efforts. Protein takes longer to break down, so you feel full longer after eating; this can help you eat fewer calories overall. Also, because of the thermic effect of food, metabolizing protein actually requires extra energy, so you burn more calories by processing protein than through fats or carbs. Additionally, the fiber content of vegetables adds to feelings of fullness and can curb cravings for fats and sugars.
While making adjustments to your diet can point you in the direction of weight loss, however, for most people it requires more than just dieting. At True You Weight Loss, we understand all too well how frustrating it can be to try losing weight only to give up in frustration after seemingly not making any progress. That is why we offer a series of state-of-the-art non-surgical procedures that can help you find your way to long-term weight loss. If you’d like to learn more about how to find the freedom you’ve been looking for, please contact us today to request a consultation.