How Much Protein Do Women Actually Need?
How much protein is enough? New research and fitness trends around protein are changing the way women plan their protein intake. But are we getting enough?
Protein is an essential macronutrient that is necessary for the growth, repair, and maintenance of muscles, bones, and other tissues in the body. Women require an adequate amount of protein in their diet to support various physiological functions and maintain optimal health. The amount of protein that women need per day can vary based on several factors such as age, activity level, and overall health status.
The Bare Minimum
According to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) set by the Food and Nutrition Board, the recommended daily intake (RDI) of protein for adult women is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that an average sedentary woman weighing 65 kg, or 143 pounds, would require 52 grams of protein per day. However, this is just a general guideline, and the actual protein requirements of an individual woman may differ based on various factors.
Individual Protein Needs
Age is a significant factor that influences protein requirements in women. During different stages of life, the body goes through several physiological changes, and protein needs may vary accordingly.
Pregnancy & Lactation Protein Needs
For instance, during pregnancy and lactation, women require higher amounts of protein to support fetal growth and milk production for their growing babies. The RDI of protein for pregnant women is 1.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, while lactating women require 1.3 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.
Similarly, as women age, the body undergoes changes that can impact protein requirements. Older women may require higher protein intakes to maintain muscle mass and bone density. The International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends a daily protein intake of 1.0-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight for women over 50 years old to reduce the risk of fractures. That’s about 65-78 grams of protein for a 145 pound woman.
Activity level is another important factor that affects protein requirements. Women who engage in moderate to high-intensity physical activity or resistance training require more protein to repair and rebuild muscles. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a protein intake of 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for active women.
Getting enough protein in your diet is imperative to heart health. One study showed that women who ate more protein, about 110 grams per day, were 25% less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who ate less protein, about 68 grams per day.
How to Get Enough Protein
While meeting protein requirements is crucial for optimal health, many women may struggle to get enough protein from their diet. Incorporating protein-rich foods in every meal is an excellent way to ensure adequate protein intake.
Good sources of protein include:
- Lean meats
- Poultry and fish
- Dairy products
Women who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet can obtain protein from plant-based sources such as:
- Soy products
What about supplements?
In addition to whole foods, protein supplements such as whey protein, casein protein, and plant-based protein powders can also be useful in meeting protein requirements. However, it is essential to choose high-quality supplements from reputable brands and consult a healthcare professional before using them. NeoraFit Plant-Based Protein Powder is a great source of protein and an easy way to supplement your protein intake to hit your protein goals.
The amount of protein that women need per day can vary based on age, activity level, and overall health status. While the general guideline is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, women may require more or less depending on their individual needs. Incorporating protein-rich foods in every meal and using high-quality protein supplements can help women meet their daily protein requirements and maintain optimal health.