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Woman sat on a exercise mat with dumbbells holding a protein shake

The woman’s guide to protein

03 Jan 2023 • 4 min read

What’s all the buzz around protein?

From babies to adults, we all need protein in our diets, but it’s thought that women will naturally consume less protein every day.

Many women are nervous that drinking protein shakes and upping their protein intake will cause them to bulk up, but the truth is quite different.

A vital part of a healthy diet, there is a wide range of benefits that come from protein that’s not just all about muscles.

From strengthening your nails and hair to even making hormones and giving your body more energy, protein is an excellent addition to anyone’s diet.

Keep reading, as we’ll tell you all you need to know about protein and what it can do for you.

What does protein do?

Protein is a macronutrient made up of long chains of amino acids that we mostly get from eating food.

It is a building block in our diet and is so vital for many different roles within the body.

Not just good for building muscle, some of the other roles of protein within the body include:

  • Growing & maintaining tissues
  • Creating enzymes & hormones
  • Developing bone, cartilage & blood
  • Supporting hair, skin, and nails

Benefits of protein for women

It can promote lean muscle growth

 

It can help to keep your hair, nails, and skin healthy

 

It can help to strengthen your bones

 

It can help you manage your weight

 

It can support your hormones

 

It can help to balance your blood sugar

 

How much protein do I need?

Clearly, we need our protein like we need our oxygen. But how much is too much?

Or perhaps more importantly, how much is too little?

Many people wrongly assume that women don’t have the same protein needs as men. However, how much protein you need isn’t related to gender so much as your weight, height, and activity level.

Government guidelines suggest a minimum of 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight to avoid becoming deficient and to maintain our existing muscle mass.11

A 2014 study in The International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that higher intake, more than 2.4g per kilo of body weight, in fact, helped calorie-restricted elite athletes lose body fat and maintain muscles.12

If you’re active and trying to lose weight, your protein intake should be around 1.5g per kilo of body weight. This ensures you remain satiated and keep muscle. But that’s sometimes easier than it sounds.

For a 67-70kg (10.5-11st) woman, that’s around 100-110g of protein. 100g of tofu contains 17g of protein, and a chicken breast is about 30g, so it’s no wonder why many choose to supplement with a convenient (and tasty) protein powder.

Signs of a protein deficiency

It’s estimated that around a billion people worldwide have a protein deficiency, but a more serious protein deficiency is generally uncommon in the Western world.13

In more serious cases of protein deficiency, the most likely changes you might see are brittle nails, thinning hair and dry skin.14

You may also feel fatigued, experience mood swings, and have more headaches.15

High protein foods

You will naturally get some protein through your diet, but it can be more difficult if you have a specific diet, like if you’re a vegan or can’t eat dairy.

Naturally high in protein foods include:

  • Lean meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Legumes

But even then, packing in enough protein every day can be tricky. So, here’s an example of how to get 100-120g of protein into your diet:

Breakfast 3 egg omelette with peppers & spinach  15-20g protein
Snack  Diet whey shake - 1 scoop 17g protein
Lunch Mozzarella or chicken & avocado salad 35g protein
Snack  Rice cakes & 1 tablespoon of nut butter 5g protein 
Dinner Salmon or Quorn fillet with vegetables 15-25g protein
Dessert 170g Greek yoghurt with honey & berries 15g protein 

 

The different types of protein powders

If you feel you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, why not try a delicious protein shake?

But there are so many protein powders on the market that it can be challenging to know which one to choose and how it can help you reach your goals.

We’ve broken down just some of our favourites to help you choose the right protein powder for your needs.

Whey protein

 

Vegan Protein

 

Protein and pregnancy

Protein is essential during pregnancy to support your baby’s development.

Generally, the amount of protein you need every day whilst pregnant depends on how far along your pregnancy is, your activity level and your weight. To find the optimal amount of protein for you, always check with a medical professional, as they will be able to advise.

You’ll usually get enough protein through your diet, perhaps without even noticing it. Still, you may wish to support your daily protein intake with a protein powder.

Protein powders are considered safe to use during pregnancy, but you need to make sure you won’t be consuming too much protein by adding a protein powder into your routine.16

These protein powders contain very high levels of concentrated protein, so it is best to get your protein through natural foods, and like all vitamins and supplements during pregnancy, you should always check with your doctor before taking it.

This goes for protein bars, drinks, and snacks too!

Protein and menopause

Eating enough protein during and after menopause is essential to keep your muscles, bones, and general health in shape.

It is thought that the decline in oestrogen during menopause can be linked to decreased muscle mass and bone density. So, keeping up with your daily protein intake can help your body maintain and support your muscles and bones.17

In addition, ensuring you get enough protein in your diet during menopause helps provide your body with the building blocks it needs for energy, your metabolism and for helping to stabilise your mood.

The final say

It’s official. Protein is a necessity that everyone needs in their diet!

For women, protein has so many health benefits – from supporting hormones and muscles to keep your hair and nails healthy, there really is no reason to be skimping on protein.

If you’re looking to supplement your protein intake, why not try a protein shake, drink, or snack? Shop our range of protein products today!

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. 

Last updated: 3 January 2023

Sources

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22958314/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.12174
  3. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/muscle-bone-and-joints/conditions/arthritis
  4. https://dairynutrition.ca/en/nutrition-and-health/osteoporosis-bone-health/osteoporosis-prevention-improving-bone-health-adults
  5. https://faseb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1096/fj.13-230227
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793233/
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005273615000516?via%3Dihub
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16469977/
  9. https://diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/hypoglycemia
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14522731/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK56068/table/summarytables.t4/?report=objectonly
  12. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/29/2/article-p165.xml
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25123207/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12190640/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165078/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5882021/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19949277/
 
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