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Why Do Women Need Protein | Hea Boosters

Whether you are into fitness or a new mother, no matter what stage of life you are in, protein is essential for women. A lot of us, think of protein as something that helps in bulking up or building lean muscles. Protein is a lot more than that, it helps in staying full for longer, keeps bones strong and boosts metabolism and ensures steady supply of milk for breastfeeding moms. Therefore, having an adequate amount of protein is necessary for women.

Now you may wonder, how much protein do you need throughout the day? According to FSSAI, the requirement of protein increases from 55 grams per day to 78 grams of protein per day, when you are pregnant and 74 grams per day, while breastfeeding.

Protein plays a vital role in several functions of the body, from being the building blocks of the cells to creating and repairing the old cells. As a macronutrient, protein is required for the structure and regulation of all tissues and organs, ensuring that they function optimally.

Protein is the nutrient that provides your muscles and tissues with energy when processed. It adds lean mass to your body and aids in physical development. As a new mother, you need to make sure that your body is getting the nourishment and right amounts of protein it needs while you are nurturing your baby and looking after yourself.

Here’s why women need protein:

1. During breastfeeding the baby:

When you are pregnant, you need to make sure that you are consuming enough protein that offers ideal sustenance to you and helps you keep up lean muscle. It also guarantees your milk supply gives protein to your child's developing muscles.

Protein produces antibodies for the immune system, these antibodies help in fighting infections and make up the bulk of our immune response are primarily composed of proteins. These antibodies are also passed on to a baby through breastmilk, conferring upon them a certain level of initial and essential immunity from their mother.

2. Protein helps in losing weight:

If you are wondering how you can lose your postpartum weight, then eating food that is rich in protein can help you with getting more fit while providing you with the required strength for you and your baby. When you are breastfeeding your baby, your body requires more protein to help you maintain a steady supply of breast milk.

The right amount of protein can help control your hunger and help you drop a few pounds. Proteins are one of the three major groups of macronutrients that make up a wholesome, healthy diet, and are indispensable components of almost every structure and metabolic function in the human body.

3. Protein keeps your bones strong:

When it comes to bone health, most people associate calcium and vitamin D as factors that contribute to strong and healthy bones. While calcium and vitamin D play significant roles, protein is important too. Women who tend to eat more protein maintain better bone mass as they age and have a much lower risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

However, a lot of us do not have enough protein as required. This insufficient protein in our diet will eventually lead to deficiency.

Here are signs of protein deficiency:

Not all women keep track of their protein intake. If you are a new mom or just want to shred some extra weight, and you don’t know if you are taking enough protein, then lookout for these signs:

  • Feeling exhausted,
  • Moody and irritated,
  • Fragile hair, nails, or flaky skin,
  • Constantly feeling hungry,
  • Frequently falling ill,
  • Slow healing process,
  • Edema, swollen feet or hands.


How to reach the daily value?

Poultry products like eggs are an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals. One egg contains 13 gram of protein, which is equivalent to 23.3% of your daily requirement.

100 gram of chicken contains 27 gram of protein, 38.6% of the daily requirement.

Milk is considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for your body to function at an optimal level and is also a great option for vegetarians to get their protein fix. This is one of the main reasons why whey protein is often advised by doctors, nutritionists and health coaches alike to supplement your diet. 1 cup (250 ml) of milk contains around 14 gram of protein.

For vegans, getting an adequate amount of protein can certainly be a challenge but there are a few plant-based products that should definitely feature in your diet and can help you reach your protein goals.

100 gram of Tofu has 8 gram of protein. You can also have sprouts and lentils to increase protein intake. Soya chunks are also a high source of protein. 100 grams of soya contains around 52 grams of protein, which fulfils 95% of your daily needs.

Here are some diet tips to guarantee you're eating enough protein:

  • Breakfast: Oats with milk along with a few nuts and seeds.
  • Lunch: Brown rice salad with eggs and some grilled chicken
  • Evening snacks: Try a fruit smoothie with some protein powder.
  • Dinner: Try fish with boiled or sauteed vegetables or if you are vegetarian then try green vegetables with grilled tofu or paneer.


Conclusion:

Protein is important for women at every stage of life, having protein or protein shakes will not bulk you up. Yes, protein promotes weight loss and lean muscles but if you are looking to increase muscles then adding weights to your everyday workout will help. During pregnancy, the need for protein increases as the growing baby inside you needs it.

For moms who choose to breastfeed their children, their daily dietary intake of protein is even more important since this needs to be significant enough to take care of both their own requirements, as well as fuel the baby’s growth and development for the first 6-24 months of their life.


Sources:

The role of protein in weight-loss and weight maintenance:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25926512/

Signs of protein deficiency:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29786804/

Protein during pregnancy:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235221/

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