Our bodies tend to lose muscle mass as we age and getting an adequate amount of protein is the key to offsetting that. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet to retain your muscle tissue and keep your metabolism going, especially if you’re losing weight. How much protein do you need per day? Which foods are good for your metabolism? Just how much protein do you need each day? Use the calculation below to find that number:
Estimate your ideal weight. “If you’re a woman, start with 100 pounds for the first 5 feet in height, and add 5 pounds for every extra inch,” says Dr. Apovian. “For men, it’s 106 pounds for 5 feet in height, plus 6 pounds for every additional inch. However, if your ideal weight is less than 120 pounds, don’t eat less than 82 g of protein daily.”
Ideal Weight (in lb) ÷ 2.2 = Ideal Weight (in kg)
Ideal Weight (in kg) × 1.5 = Daily Protein Goal (in g)
Now that you know how many grams of protein you should be getting each day, see which foods are good protein sources below.
These foods are great metabolism-boosting foods:
Protein content: 15 g per 1/2 cup
Its nougatlike texture makes tempeh a smart stand-in for meat. Sauté, or crumble cooked tempeh over salads.
Protein content: 7-9 g per 1/2 cup (cooked)
Pair dried beans (think black beans, chickpeas, and lentils) with rice or quinoa for a complete-protein meal.
- Greek-style yogurt
Protein content: 18 g per 6 oz
This thick and creamy treat packs nearly twice as much protein as other dairy sources; it’s great with fruit.
- Tree Nuts
Protein content: 4-6 g per 2 Tbsp
A small handful of walnuts or almonds is great as a snack, mixed into yogurt or oatmeal, or on a salad.
Protein content: 8.5 g per 1/2 cup (shelled)
A single serving packs nearly every trace mineral your body needs, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.
- Whey protein
Protein content: 24 g per 1 oz
Add a scoop to smoothies or water for a quick protein hit. Avoiding animal products? Try soy protein powder.
Protein content: 5 g per 1 cup (cooked)
Of all the leafy greens, spinach boasts the highest protein content. Try it sautéed with a bit of garlic.
Protein content: 12 g per 3 oz
Made from soybeans, this low-cal, versatile protein will take on any flavor, from Asian to barbecue.
- Fish and shellfish
Protein content: 28 g per 4 oz
Whether it’s salmon, halibut, or tuna, seafood is a great catch. Aim for 3 to 5 servings a week.
Which of these foods are your favorites? To see nine additional metabolism boosting foods, visit Prevention.
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