Protein, the subject that all the meatheads love, but protein should be of interest to everyone, it is so important to us. It has so many benefits including its ability to build lean muscle tissue and reduce body fat.
By the way, when I say protein, I am talking about protein that we get from REAL FOOD. Not protein powder. Supplements do come in handy but I don’t feel they are NEEDED.
Just like the carbohydrate post I need to bore you a little bit with science first…
Proteins are made up of basic building blocks called amino acids. When we eat food that contains protein it is digested and broken down into specific amino acids. These amino acids are then put together by the body to form proteins again that will then play a managerial role in the body, regulating hormones, enzymes, fluid balance, antibodies and nutrient transportation.
That’s the geek part over for now, below is a list of some of the benefits of protein:
- Recovery after exercise
- Boosts metabolism
- Builds lean muscle tissue
- Helps reduce body fat
- Vital for forming bones, hair, nails, skin, organs, tendons
- Can provide energy
- It has a high thermic effect by boosting our metabolic rate (we burn more calories)
- Helps to reduce appetite (we eat less)
Please take note that it is important to really chew protein foods as nothing in our saliva reacts with protein. It needs to be physically broken down in our mouths at the start of the digestion process or we will end up giving our stomach a hard time.
Different foods contain different amino acids so it is important we get a variety of food to ensure we get the correct intake of protein for our body.
If any vegetarians are reading this please make sure you are eating a wide variety of plant foods, as some amino acids may be lacking from certain foods but will be present in other sources.
Protein FOOD (real food, not powder) examples:
- Red meat
- White meat
- Dairy products
The following foods contain protein but not as much as the sources listed above:
‘How much protein?’ is a common question I am asked. Its difficult to say as the answer depends on a persons specific goals, calorie intake, activity levels, muscle mass, current health and training schedule. A good starting point I suggest is to aim to include at least one portion of either red meat, white meat, fish or eggs per main meal that we have.
I would personally class a portion of protein the size of our palm. Its much easier using this gauge rather than weighing everything out all the time.
For the guys that want to be ‘massive’ please note that eating large amounts of protein on its own won’t make you have big muscles. Our body cannot store excess protein for later use, so the energy from the protein will just get stored as fat.
One last point… I keep emphasizing the need for real food over supplements because this is something I feel pretty strongly about. We get so much more nutrition from real food, so please try and get most of your protein from natural sources.
I am going to leave it at that as this blog has already taken me two weeks to write (I did used to get punched as a side job remember).
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