You can get it from a shake or a steak, but what exactly is protein and why is it so important? Well, protein is one of the three macronutrients we consume from our food sources—which means that it belongs to an elite club of stuff your body can’t make, but you must consume in order to survive. That said, protein is different from its macronutrient cousins, fats and carbohydrates, in that the body doesn’t have the ability to store it. As such, it’s particularly important that you get your daily intake. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram (0.36 grams per pound) of body weight per day.
But what exactly does protein do for your body? “Eating a good number of proteins in one’s diet can help maintain muscle mass, integrity and immunity,” says Dr. Amy Lee, head of nutrition for Nucific. She also tells us that getting enough protein is particularly important as we get older, since the body loses lean mass as we age. There’s no need to book it to the butcher shop, though, because this macronutrient can be found in plants, legumes, dairy products and—you guessed it—grains. What’s more, high-protein grains contain less saturated fat than protein from animal sources, and they’re rich in important nutrients like B vitamins and dietary fiber to boot. With that in mind, here are the high-protein grains you need to incorporate into your diet, stat.
*All nutrition data sourced from the USDA.