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Power Up Your Diet with These Protein-Rich Foods
The importance of protein, especially as we get older, cannot be understated. This versatile nutrient plays a number of important roles in the body, from building and maintaining muscle, to contributing to bone health, to supporting the immune system, and so much more.
Everyone’s protein needs are a bit different. That’s because how much you need depends largely on how much you weigh, your activity level and health status. When you get older, your protein needs increase a little, and they go up even more if you’re sick, injured or malnourished. The general protein estimate for healthy people 65 and older is 1 gram of protein for every 2 pounds of body weight (e.g. 75 g protein for 150 lbs.) per day.
A good rule of thumb is to aim for 20-35 grams at every meal or snack, since spreading out your protein throughout the day helps you meet your goals.
Protein acts as a vital building block within our bodies, but we get it from the foods we eat. You don’t need to go on a protein-only diet, but it is important to make sure you get protein-rich foods every time you sit down to a meal or snack.
There are two main types of protein: those that come from animal sources and those that come from plants. A balanced diet includes a wide variety of protein-rich foods. You can follow a vegan diet and still enjoy quality protein – you just might need to eat more of them since plant-based sources aren’t as protein dense per serving.
Here are some good plant-based protein sources if you follow a vegan diet:
Vegetarians, or people who eat dairy and eggs, but no meat, can enjoy all of the above protein foods, plus:
Fish and Meat-eaters have the most protein options, including:
Get the most of out your meals – and get closer to your daily goals – when you pair two proteins together. For example, a sesame-crusted seared salmon with an edamame and corn salad combines fish with soy products. Or, if you don’t eat meat, consider a grain bowl made with quinoa, black beans and shredded cheese. If you follow a vegan diet, skip the cheese and use crumbled tempeh.
Whatever tastes and textures suit you, find what you like, and you’ll reach your daily protein needs in no time!
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