Protein is an incredibly important aspect of a healthy diet. Many people get their daily protein needs met with meat but for vegetarians and vegans it can be difficult to get enough if you don’t realize that you can get enough protein from a variety of plant-based sources.
Protein is the nutrient responsible for many body functions from repairing tissue and muscle to producing enzymes and hormones in the body. It really is the building blocks of your skeletal and muscular system. When you don’t eat enough protein, things begin to happen to your body. Some of these symptom include:
- Not seeing results from exercise
- Hair and nails are brittle and break easily
- Muscles losing tone or feeling flabby
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Before you start eating a bunch of protein you need to know how much protein you really need in your diet. How much protein you need is based on factors such as age, weight and activity level. It is typically noted that the average woman who isn’t very active only needs 46-55 grams of protein per day. This may actually be incorrect. Rather than relying on a baseline recommendation you can calculate exactly how much you need with some simple math.
A woman who is at a healthy weight but doesn’t exercise heavily or lift weights often only needs 0.36 to 0.60 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. If you are pregnant or very active, take your bodyweight and divide it by 2.2. The result will be your bodyweight in kilograms. You will then multiply this number by 1.3 if you are pregnant or active or 1.8 if you are very active and/or a weight lifter. That number would be a good amount of grams of protein to start with. Your needs would of course change with weight loss, weight training, illness, etc.
Example for an active woman who weighs 200 pounds: 200 lbs / 2.2 = 90.9 – 90.9 x 1.8 = 163 grams of protein per day.
There are many ways vegetarians can get protein into their diets. Protein isn’t just something that is important for bodybuilders. The average woman doesn’t consumer enough protein, and this can be especially difficult for those trying to go vegetarian or vegan while working out. Figure out how much protein you need for your body and try out some of these 6 vegetarian protein sources. You might just find that you feel better than ever and have increased energy.