The word protein means “of the first rank,” because it mediates most of the actions of life. Protein is essential for all body tissues: skin, tendons, bone matrix, cartilage, and connective tissue. Protein also forms hormones, enzymes, antibodies and acts as a chemical messenger within the body. Requirements for protein vary between 40-65 g/day depending on physical activity, stress, and growth cycles. Excess is stored in the body as fat.9

There are many ways to get protein in your diet. But if you get protein from vegetable sources like legumes, you’ll also get folate and fiber. Legumes are inexpensive, easy to incorporate into soups and salads, and a healthier alternative compared to red meat.9 Fish and chicken are also good sources and lower in fat than red meat.