The power of protein is expected, yet in many instances unrecognised! Protein is an important component of every cell in the body; it makes up our hair and nails, it is used to build and repair tissues, it is used to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals and it is the building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. All in all – without it we would be more like a crippled heap laid upon the floor than the strong, healthy, radiant human we want to be!
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a "macronutrient," meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply! This means we need to ensure we are getting enough each day! Though that being said, 99% of Australian men and women are consuming adequate intakes of protein so no need to stress guys! Below is a quick guide of how much protein you should be consuming per day:
So majority of us have the whole protein consumption down pat, though we could all benefit from getting more protein from better food sources! The type of protein you eat may play a role in successful weight loss and in your overall health.
Consumption of large quantities of processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats, have been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer and so you'll have a harder time maintaining weight loss and health if you eat these proteins often!
Rather dietary proteins should be received from the following sources:
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Fish: Fish offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and, in general, less fat than meat.
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Poultry: You can eliminate most of the saturated fat by removing the skin.
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Beans: Beans contain more protein than any other vegetable protein. Plus, they're loaded with fiber that helps you feel full for hours.
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Nuts
[if !supportLists]· [endif]Whole grains
A lot of plant-based foods can give you the same amount of protein as meats, without the adverse effects associated with excessive meat consumption.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Your body needs them to make the protein structures that build and maintain the tissues in your body. There are many different amino acids and all proteins, no matter what food they come from, are made up of amino acids, though the number and order of the amino acids differ! Your body can make many amino acids, though there are some amino acids that the human body can't manufacture. These amino acids are called the essential amino acids because they are ‘essential’ to consume. Animal proteins all contain every single one of these essential amino acids, so they're called complete proteins.
If you're an ovo-lacto-vegetarian (only eggs or dairy products), you can get complete proteins when you eat the eggs or dairy products. Plant
proteins are a little different. Each plant that you eat has a different amino acid profile. Grains and legumes are called complementary proteins because when you combine them, you get all of the essential amino acids. Nuts and seeds are also complementary to legumes!
Important to note, you don't need to eat complementary proteins together at every meal. As long as you get a variety of proteins throughout the day, you'll get ample amounts of each amino acid. But, some great ways to combine your complementary proteins are:
GRAINS + LEGUMES:
• Black beans and rice
• Pasta and peas
• Whole wheat bread and peanut butter
• Bean soup and crackers
NUTS & SEEDS + LEGUMES:
• Roasted nuts, seeds, and peanuts
• Hummus (chickpeas and tahini)
• Lentils and almonds
Soy is one plant protein that contains all the essential amino acids. It's usually served as tempeh or tofu, and soy milk is a popular replacement for milk. Amaranth, quinoa, hempseed, and chia are also complete proteins!
So as you can see there are SO MANY ways to get adequate protein through diet, whether it be by animal or plant based products! This being the case I do not usually deem the use of a protein supplement as necessary to increase protein intake, but rather as a way to improve taste, texture and satiety of certain foods! Though keeping in mind that it does add extra kilojoules and you want to ensure the protein is as "clean" as possible (i.e no artificial colours, flavours, added sugars etc)! This recipe is a great example of how I like to use protein to improve taste, texture and bulkiness of the meal!
½ cup rolled oats
½-1cup water or milk of choice, more water will produce a runnier oatmeal
1 scoop of your favourite protein powder, I used Gold Standard Whey in strawberry flavour
1 peach, sliced
Mix oats and water in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 1 minute
Mix mixture and place back in for 30 seconds
Remove from microwave and stir through protein powder until thoroughly mixed
Serve with sliced peach! So easy and so tasty!