Protein: How Much Do You Need?

The Recommended Allowance for protein for most people is about 70 grams per day. Many types of foods contain protein, and it is easy to meet your protein requirements with a typical varied diet. For example, you would meet your daily requirement for protein if you ate two of cups each of beans and whole grains such as barley, brown rice or oatmeal, three ounces of tuna, and two glasses of milk or a vegetarian milk substitute. If you are not sure whether you eat enough protein, keep track by checking the labels of the foods you eat for a few days. You will probably find that you get plenty of protein without any special effort.

Protein is made up of protein building blocks called amino acids. Your stomach acids and enzymes in the stomach and intestines break down proteins into these building blocks, which pass from the intestine into the bloodstream. If your body needs to build protein, your liver combines amino acids to form body proteins. If you don't need all of the protein you have eaten, it is broken down into organic acids and ammonia, which can be used for energy or be converted to fat. If you take in more protein than you need on any given day, it will be stored as fat because you cannot store protein in your body.

Competitive athletes or heavy exercisers need more protein to repair muscles after workouts. Muscles heal from a hard workout when amino acids and other nutrients travel from your bloodstream into the muscles. Eating any foods, particularly those that are good sources of protein, immediately after a workout helps muscles heal faster. More


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