Ever looked at your plate and thought, "Am I getting enough protein today?" I definitely have. Let’s discuss why protein is good for you, how much you should eat, and some ways to easily get it into your diet.
1. Protein: It's Pretty Important
Did you know the word protein comes from a Greek word that means "first"? That's because it plays a very important role in our health. Here are just some of the ways protein impacts our body:
Immune Function: Proteins help support your immune system by becoming antibodies that recognize and neutralize things like bacteria and viruses.
Regulate pH levels: Proteins act as buffers, helping regulate the body’s pH levels. These levels are incredibly important as they impact normal cellular function.
Quell Hunger and Help With Weight Management: Protein-rich foods make you feel full and satisfied. This can help control your appetite and help you manage weight.
Hormone Regulation: Proteins make up some hormones and these hormones help regulate your blog sugar levels, metabolism, and growth.
Repairs Muscle: Amino acids from proteins repair and rebuild damaged muscle fibers. The process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is essential to muscle recovery and growth.
2. How Much Protein Should You Have?
I recommend .8 grams of protein per pound at a minimum. If you’re exercising, I suggest 1 gram per pound. If you’re pregnant, you should consume more protein than usual.
4. Is More Protein Better?
In some cases more protein can be beneficial. If you are an athlete in intense training, higher protein intake can support muscle repair and growth. If you are an older individual a slightly higher protein intake can help counteract age-related muscle loss.
However, it is important to know that excessive protein intake over a long period of time might not offer any additional benefits and could possibly have negative effects on kidney function in individuals with pre-existing kidney conditions. It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before significantly increasing your protein intake and listen to your body.
4. When You Should Have Protein
If you consume protein after a workout, you can utilize something called the protein synthesis window, often referred to as the “anabolic window”.
This period after exercising is said to be more efficient at using the ingested protein to help muscle recovery and maximize muscle protein synthesis. The timing of this window is thought to be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours after you exercise.
During this period, your insulin sensitivity is also increased which allows your body to shuttle amino acids into muscles, promoting protein synthesis.
5. Good Sources of Protein
Not all proteins are created equal. Here are some ideas for good food with good amounts of protein:
- Fish (like tuna or salmon): 21 grams in 3 ounces
- Chicken or Turkey: 19 grams in 3 ounces
- Greek Yogurt: 17 grams in 6 ounces
- Beans: 8 grams in ½ cup
- Milk: 8 grams in 1 cup
- Nuts: 7 grams in ¼ cup
- Eggs: 6 grams each
Protein plays a vital role in our body's health and overall functioning. Protein is essential for building and maintaining strong muscles and a healthy body. Whether you're intensely training or just living life, protein is important. Share with us some of the best ways you like to include protein in your diet!