Protein is a nutrient your body needs to grow & to repair cells. You need the right types and the right amount everyday to stay healthy, and this amount varies depending on your age, weight, height & activity level.
As a rough guide, women need 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram, so if you weigh 70 kilos, you would need around 52.5 grams of protein. However, if you are active & trying to gain muscle (tone-up) & lose weight, the suggested intake is around 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram - which would take the daily amount of protein for someone weighing 70 kilos to 105 grams.
Where am I going to get it from?
There are many foods that contain protein. Here are some great sources of protein:
Are all proteins the same?
The term 'complete protein' refers to amino acids, the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can form a protein & nine that the body can't produce on its own. These are called essential amino acids & we need to include them in our diet because we cant make them on our own. In order for a protein source to be considered 'complete' it must contain all nine essential amino acids in roughly equal amounts.
Red meat, poultry, cheese, fish, milk soybeans, quinoa & eggs are single source complete proteins - beans & nuts aren't. However, If you are looking for a vegetarian/vegan option besides soybeans & quinoa, & want to make sure you are getting a complete protein, you can quite simply combine legumes with grains. Combine legumes like beans, lentils & peanuts with grains like wheat, rice & corn & a you have a complete protein. For example, peanut butter on whole wheat is an easy snack that provides all of the essential amino acids - along with plenty of healthy fats, which are also a necessary part of your diet. Just go easy on the peanut butter, it's quite high in calories.
As you can see from the list above, it is very easy to get hold of a range of different protein sources to help boost your daily protein intake. It is particularly important to make sure you are getting enough protein when you workout regularly.
So ask yourself, am I getting enough?