Did you know that there is protein in every single cell in your body – from your hair to your nails to your muscles and organs. Yet, historically, women have had a complicated relationship with protein. That old notion that men can order steak, while the more “feminine” approach to this is a salad. And protein shakes and bars were only found in the gym bags of body builders.
Thankfully, times have changed. For many women who are understanding the many benefits that protein can provide—everything from sustained energy to glowing skin—the shift is even changing the way they think about food. So, what role does protein play on days when you don’t hit the gym? How much do you need, and which form is best?
How much protein women actually need
First, some protein basics. Frances Largeman-Roth, RD, best-selling author and nationally recognized health expert, has a hard and fast rule that women need one gram per one kilogram of weight a day. “The caveat to that is that the body can only absorb 30 grams of protein at once,” she says. “[After that], if it isn’t burned off as energy, it will be stored as fat.” What does 30 grams look like? An egg has 6 grams, 25 grams in 3 ounces of tuna, and 8 grams in 1 cup of quinoa which can add up pretty quickly. “In nutrition science, an egg is considered the perfect protein source because it also has all the essential amino acids.” And not all protein sources are created equal. “You should also consider what other nutrients you can get with your protein,” Largeman-Roth says. But meat eaters don’t always have the upper hand. “Many packaged meat products are loaded with sodium, which is something you don’t want. Especially, when you could have almonds instead, which also have selenium, vitamin E, and magnesium.”
What it’s fueling—besides your workout
Even if all you’re doing from 9-to-5 is sitting at your desk working, you still need that recommended serving of protein. If you don’t, prepare to get droopy-eyed at your computer. If you typically feel completely spent by 4 p.m. each day, chances are, you’re not getting enough of the macronutrient at lunch. CLICK Coffee Protein Drink Mix is a great source of protein and energy all in one and can replace a meal especially if time is not on your side. Protein is also good for your gut—and don’t forget, a healthy microbiome is a major happiness booster. Plus, it keeps metabolism in check. “Protein doesn’t speed up your metabolism, but it is essential for maintaining a good metabolism because it helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day,” explains Largeman-Roth. What’s good for your insides shows on the outside, and the beauty biz is taking notice. Collagen, a building block of protein, is popping up in a whole slew of beauty beverages, touting its reputed skin-firming and anti-aging benefits.
Getting enough protein in a busy world
In an ideal world, you’d get all of the important nutrients your body needs, including protein, from whole foods, says Manhattan nutritionist Sharon Richter, RD, “but there are always situations where it’s useful to have protein shakes. It’s just convenient and easy.” Women who drink protein shakes may retain more muscle and lose more fat. Women looking at protein shakes and supplements may get the impression that they’re only for bodybuilders. It’s true that high-protein shakes can help develop lean muscle mass, which is a benefit for all women, but it’s also true that shakes can encourage fat loss, increase satiety, deliver essential nutrients and even improve metabolic activity. An example is CLICK Coffee Protein Drink Mix which provides 23 essential vitamins and minerals 16 grams of protein and a double shot of espresso coffee to help curb appetite while provide energy all in one. Protein shakes can be a healthy addition to many women’s diets.
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