As mentioned, if you live in the United States, you’re probably already getting enough protein in your diet. But if you’re worried, explore the different ways to increase the amount you get here.
10 foods that are good sources of protein
You can easily increase your protein intake by changing what’s on your plate. The percentages given here are based on the Daily Value (DV) of 50g of protein per day (this is an estimate of how much an average adult needs):
- ½ cup fat-free Greek yogurt (23% DV)
- 3 oz tilapia (46% DV) (14)
- ½ cup chickpeas (14.5% DV) (15)
- 3 oz chicken breast (55% DV) (16)
- ½ cup cooked black beans (15.24% DV) (17)
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (14% DV) (18)
- 1 Egg (12% DV) (19)
- 1 ounce almonds (12% DV) (20)
- ½ cup unflavored dry rolled oats (10% DV) (21)
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (8.14% DV) (22)
When choosing your protein source, be sure to pay attention to the fat content of the food. Poultry and skinless fish, for example, are better choices than red meat because they don’t contain high levels of saturated fat, which can be dangerous in excess as it can raise LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. in your blood. (23)
Main sources of protein beyond whole foods
Although protein is found in many whole foods, there are hundreds of manufactured items containing protein. Protein powders, protein energy bars, and even protein-enriched breads, pancake mixes, and chips are available.
These products may be suitable for some people expected to consume more protein than the usual recommendation. Athletes, for example, can benefit from ingesting protein within an hour of their workout. (6) A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a single large dose of 25g of protein after exercise can increase muscle protein synthesis. (24) This might explain why protein shakes are so often associated with bodybuilders and gym rats.
Seniors who struggle to eat and drink enough protein throughout the day, sometimes due to a decreased appetite, can also benefit from high-protein products and shakes, according to an article in the magazine. Aging well. (25) Protein is important for this group because the body’s protein stores naturally decline with age. (25) A report in The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine recommends that people over 65 have an average daily intake of between 1.0 and 1.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. (26) Without enough protein, these older adults may experience general weakness (including an increased risk of falling), fatigue, reduced mobility and a weakened immune system. (25)
Here’s the fix: Consuming 25-30g of high-quality protein per meal can help boost protein synthesis in these older adults. (26) Protein supplements may be particularly helpful in hospitals and may reduce the risk of developing pressure sores. (25)
Advice to the wise: study the nutrition label before jumping into protein shakes and other supplements. Just because a product is high in protein doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy in every way. Look for protein supplements that contain no more than 200 calories, less than 2g of saturated fat, and no more than 5g of sugar. (6)
Also, because supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are no oversight checks to make sure the products live up to the claims on their packaging, so take them. with a grain of salt and be sure to speak with your healthcare team before adding them to your diet. (27)
Experts say it’s a good idea to rely on whole foods rather than processed foods to get your protein, because whole foods provide nutritional benefits that synthetic options don’t. (6)