Wednesday, August 17, 2011
How to Fulfill Your Daily Protein Requirement
The human body uses protein to repair damaged cells and to build new ones. Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at NYU and author of What to Eat, estimates that the average adult man needs about 65 grams of protein a day and the average adult female needs about 55 grams. Some sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization say you can maintain a healthy diet with even less.
What does this actually mean in terms of food choices? The National Institutes of Health explains that most people can meet their daily protein requirement by eating two to three small servings of a protein-rich food a day.
Examples of a single serving of protein include:
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
2-3 ounces of red meat, poultry, or fish (about the size of a deck of cards)
½ cup of cooked dried beans such as black beans or chickpeas
Whole grains, seeds, and some vegetables also contain protein, so consuming enough is not difficult even if you don’t eat meat. Vegetarians and vegans can easily get what they need by balancing complimentary proteins such as corn and beans or rice and tofu. Nutritionists used to recommend combining foods at the same meal, but research now shows that is unnecessary.