IS PROTEIN IMPORTANT?
Tara Gidus Collingwood
In order to properly function, our bodies require a balance of the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Each is essential in our daily diets and work together to keep us healthy and performing at our best. Here we’ll explore protein.
Why is protein important?
Protein is a nutrient essential to every cell in the body. It plays a role in hormone regulation, boosts brain function and keeps a healthy immune system. Protein is also vital to athletic performance as it helps maintain, build and repair lean muscle mass.
How much do I need?
Protein needs vary from person to person depending on height, muscle mass, and activity levels. In general, daily protein intake of athletes should range from 0.5–0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight with
endurance and strength athletes at the higher end of this range. ADVERTISEMENT Americans tend to get too little protein at breakfast and snacks, and too much protein at lunch and dinner. Spread your recommended amount throughout the day to ensure you’re getting 15-40 grams of protein with every snack and meal.
What are good sources?
Protein can be found in meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, soy, eggs, dairy and even whole grains. Use this list to ensure you’re getting adequate protein throughout the day.
Chicken breast: 3 oz. = 18 grams of protein
Lean ground beef: 3 oz. = 18 grams of protein
Canned tuna: 3 oz. = 16 grams of protein
Shrimp: 3 oz. = 18 grams of protein
Wild salmon: 3 oz. = 17 grams of protein
Flank steak: 3 oz. = 21 grams of protein
Turkey lunch meat: 3 oz. = 14.5 grams of protein
Milk: 1 cup = 8 grams of protein
Greek yogurt: 1 cup = 22 grams of protein
Cottage cheese: 1 cup = 26 grams of protein
Cheese: 1 oz. = 7 grams of protein
Egg: 1 large = 6.3 grams of protein
Egg whites: 1⁄4 cup = 5 grams of protein
Almonds: 1 oz. = 6 grams of protein
Beans: 1 cup = 14 grams of protein
Peanut butter: 2 Tbsp = 8 grams of protein
Tara Gidus Collingwood is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness and health promotion. She is currently the nutrition consultant to the USTA National Campus with Andrews Institute and Nemours, the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic NBA team, the nutrition consultant to University of Central Florida Athletic Department and a nutrition and exercise executive coach at the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute.