The Importance of Protein for Women: How Much is Enough?

By Dr Olivia Naturals Support • June 28, 2024

I will never stop saying this: women need to have the appropriate amount of protein! Protein is essential for our bodies, playing a crucial role in building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and supporting overall health. However, many women don't get enough protein in their diets. Understanding how much protein is appropriate and incorporating it into daily meals is key to maintaining good health and vitality.

Why is Protein Important?

Protein is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body. These amino acids are involved in various bodily functions, including:

  1. Building and Repairing Tissues: Protein is essential for the growth and repair of muscles, skin, and other tissues. This is especially important for women who exercise regularly or are recovering from injury.

  2. Enzyme Production: Enzymes are proteins that facilitate chemical reactions in the body, such as digestion and energy production.

  3. Hormone Regulation: Many hormones, such as insulin and growth hormone, are proteins. These hormones regulate various bodily functions, including metabolism and growth.

  4. Immune Function: Proteins play a crucial role in the immune system by producing antibodies that help fight infections.

  5. Energy Source: While carbohydrates and fats are the body's primary sources of energy, protein can also be used as a fuel source when needed.

How Much Protein Do Women Need?

The amount of protein needed varies depending on factors such as age, activity level, and overall health. A common recommendation for protein intake is based on body weight. I tell ladies to shoot for about 30 grams of protein three times a day. However, a more personalized approach is to calculate protein needs based on body weight.

A simple formula to determine the minimum amount of protein you need daily is to multiply your weight (in pounds) by 0.65. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for a minimum of 97.5 grams of protein per day (150 x 0.65 = 97.5).

Benefits of Adequate Protein Intake for Women

  1. Muscle Health: Adequate protein intake is essential for maintaining muscle mass, especially as women age. Muscle mass naturally declines with age, leading to a slower metabolism and increased risk of injury. Consuming enough protein helps preserve muscle mass and strength.

  2. Weight Management: Protein can aid in weight management by increasing feelings of fullness and reducing appetite. It also has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fats, meaning your body burns more calories digesting protein.

  3. Bone Health: Protein is important for bone health. Studies have shown that higher protein intake is associated with better bone density and a lower risk of fractures.

  4. Hormonal Balance: Protein helps regulate hormones that control hunger and satiety, such as ghrelin and leptin. This can help manage cravings and support a healthy weight.

  5. Improved Recovery: For women who exercise regularly, adequate protein intake is crucial for muscle recovery and repair. This can reduce soreness and improve performance in future workouts.

Sources of Protein

Incorporating a variety of protein sources into your diet ensures you get a range of essential amino acids. Here are some excellent sources of protein:

  1. Lean Meats: Chicken, turkey, and lean cuts of beef and pork are rich in protein and provide essential vitamins and minerals.

  2. Fish and Seafood: Fish like salmon, tuna, and cod are high in protein and also provide healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

  3. Dairy Products: Milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of protein and calcium, important for bone health.

  4. Eggs: Eggs are a versatile and inexpensive source of high-quality protein.

  5. Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent plant-based protein sources, also rich in fiber.

  6. Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, peanuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds provide protein along with healthy fats and other nutrients.

  7. Soy Products: Tofu, tempeh, and edamame are high-protein options for vegetarians and vegans.

  8. Whole Grains: Quinoa, farro, and bulgur offer protein along with fiber and essential vitamins.

Tips for Increasing Protein Intake

  1. Start Your Day with Protein: Include protein-rich foods in your breakfast, such as eggs, Greek yogurt, or a protein smoothie.

  2. Snack Smart: Choose high-protein snacks like nuts, cheese, or protein bars to keep you full between meals.

  3. Include Protein in Every Meal: Make sure each meal contains a good source of protein. For example, add chicken or beans to your salad, or have fish or tofu with your dinner.

  4. Experiment with Protein Supplements: If you struggle to get enough protein from food alone, consider protein powders or bars as a convenient option.

  5. Plan Your Meals: Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure they include adequate protein. This can help you stay on track and meet your protein goals.

Potential Risks of High Protein Intake

While protein is essential, it's important to consume it in appropriate amounts. Extremely high protein intake can put strain on the kidneys, especially in individuals with preexisting kidney conditions. It's also important to balance protein intake with other nutrients and not neglect carbohydrates and fats, which are also essential for overall health.


In conclusion, protein is a vital nutrient for women, supporting muscle health, weight management, bone health, hormonal balance, and recovery. By understanding your protein needs and incorporating a variety of protein-rich foods into your diet, you can enhance your overall health and well-being.