The discussion of how much protein women need is a common one, and is often met with a lot of confusion and conflicting views.
So, let’s learn a little bit more, and discuss factors that influence protein intake, and how to determine your needs.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients in the body. It is used as building blocks for our physical structure, as well as biochemical processes – muscles, tendons, bones, hormones, immune cells, enzymes, neurotransmitters, etc…
The varying amount that we require is influenced by our age, gender, activity levels, physical goals, and other physical demands (like illness, stress, weight loss, etc…).
General recommendations state that 0.8-1.2g of protein per kg of healthy body weight is required. Sedentary women would require a much lower amount than women who are very active or require athletic support, for example.
Aiming for about 15-25% of your calorie intake as protein has been shown to boost muscle mass, mood, satiety, lower body fat percentage, reduce appetite and cravings, and prevent age related muscle atrophy (wastage).
Having more protein, however, does not directly correlate with more animal products. Collectively, we can get a huge variety of protein from plant foods, however the key word there is ‘variety.’
If you are living off white bread sandwiches, pasta and a bit of lettuce as your basis for ‘animal free’ foods, you need to reassess.
Increasing your plant based protein by including beans, legumes, peas, nuts, seeds, good grains, vegetables, etc… Then you will find greater nourishment, with protein as well as countless other nutrients.
Animal protein is fine in moderation, however, the healthiest populations tend to eat the least, but a great variety of good quality whole foods, as stated above. Having this focus, in our Western culture, with such an array of processed foods, can help us to seek out the best options.
Avoid processed meats and refined carbohydrates, as they are linked with cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, etc…