Protein and fat are macronutrients, essential for supplying energy, regulating blood and hormone production and assisting with metabolic and cellular function. Women need to consume both nutrients in large quantities to promote optimal nutrition. The appropriate amount of fat and protein intake is related to your body weight and activity level.
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The correct amount of fat and protein is based on your body weight and how much exercise you get throughout the day. Both of these factors influence your basal metabolic rate. With a higher basal metabolic rate, you burn through calories and nutrients more quickly, placing a greater need on restoring these supplies through the diet. Women and men who weigh the same and have the same level of activity will have the same nutrient needs.
About 20 to 35 percent of your total calories should come from fat, according to MayoClinic.com. This amounts to between 44 and 78 g a day based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Both too much and too little fat can be harmful to your health. Too much fat can lead to cardiovascular disease, while too little may slow down metabolism and actually lead to weight gain. With more exercise, you need to take in more fat intake to provide energy.
Protein should make up 10 to 35 percent of your diet, equaling between 50 and 175 g per day. Again, with increased exercise, you place greater demand on your body's metabolism and need to consume more protein. Protein is helpful for restoring damaged cellular tissue. You need about .8 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight. If you exercise more than an hour a day or lift weights heavily, you need up to 1.5 g per 1 kg body weight.
When it comes to protein, animal sources offer more essential amino acids and are generally better than plant sources for providing energy and assisting with cellular health. Fish and poultry are high-quality proteins and have less fat than red meat. Plant sources that are high in protein include legumes, nuts and seeds. Try to avoid saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol because of their strong link to heart disease and strokes. Nuts and both olive and canola oils are healthy sources of fat.
While nutrient balance remains fairly constant during pregnancy, vitamin and mineral requirements increase. You need iron, folic acid, calcium and sodium in abundance while pregnant. Foods that are high in protein and fat are generally high in these substances as well, so consuming the required amount of nutrients each day will help you meet these additional vitamin and mineral requirements.