Protein makes up 20 percent of our body and our skin, eyes, hair, muscles, and internal organs are made from it. Protein is also required for our immune system to function properly and is essential for our total overall health. Yet, although protein is necessary, we can eat too much or too little of it, and when we eat too much protein, it gets stored as fat, which can then cause obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. When we eat too little protein, we can suffer a host of other problems, including weakness and even death.
So how much protein is required for optimal performance? Here’s what the U.S. government has set as the recommendation based on a person who exercises moderately 30 minutes everyday:
|Males, 19-30 years old||6 1/2|
|Males, 31-50 years old||6|
|Males, 51+ years old||5 1/2|
|Females, 19-30 years old||5 1/2|
|Females, 31-50 years old||5|
|Females, 51+ years old||5|
or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds.
There are some other things that affect protein intake. They are
- When your body is under stress—if you are ill, recovering from surgery, had a broken bone, experienced blood loss, suffered an injury, or have cancer—you may need to almost double your normal protein intake to help your body heal.
- When a woman is pregnant or lactating, she requires more protein, and should get an additional another 2 ounces of protein.
- Some people need less protein. For example, if you have kidney or liver disease, protein can be difficult for your body to process and use. In this case, your doctor might tell you to consume less protein.
If you want to learn more about protein foods, read The Protein Content in Foods.