There are many benefits to eating more protein and eating it on a regular basis. Protein keeps our metabolism running, keeps our energy up and our blood sugar levels stable. Every cell in our body utilizes protein and it’s helpful in building muscle, supporting our neurological function, aides in digestion, and can balance our hormones. Protein is also a great way to manage our weight because the keep us full, longer. When we don’t enough protein our metabolism becomes sluggish, we can have trouble losing weight, have low energy, fatigue, poor concentration and joint pain.
Proteins are organic molecules made up of amino acids – the building blocks of life. There are two main categories of amino acids in the body. First, essential amino acids (those that the body can’t manufacture that we must get in our diets). Second are nonessential amino acids (those that the body can usually make for itself).
When to eat your protein:
Athletes may have special needs when it comes to when to eat their protein. However, if you are a healthy individual, when you consume your protein probably isn’t that important. In general, eating a well-balanced meal 1-2 hours before exercise and again 1-2 hours after, will supply most people with their workout nutrition needs.
Before you rush off to mix a protein shake – While protein before a workout is a great idea, speed of digestion doesn’t seem to matter much. So, any protein source, eaten within a few hours of the workout session, should do the trick.
How much should you eat:
It appears to be a good idea to spread your protein out during your 3 meals and snack. Research also shows that most people skimp on protein and overdo it on carbohydrates. Here’s a general guideline for protein intake per day.
Women – 1 serving of lean, complete protein (20-30g) with each meal, every few hours. (Or, if you eat less frequently, eat a bit more protein with each meal).
Men – 2 servings of lean, complete protein (40-60g) with each meal, every few hours. (Or, if you eat less frequently, eat a bit more protein with each meal).
This pattern of intake will make sure you’re getting enough protein to reap all the benefits that this macronutrient has to offer.
Try tracking your protein intake over the next few days to see if you are getting enough. If not, here are some great sources to up your protein intake.
|Plant Source||Oatmeal||Green Beans||Hummus||Greek Yogurt||Navy Beans||Lentils||Quinoa||Almonds||Pea Powder|
|Protein Grams||6 grams||6 grams||6 grams||23 grams||20 grams||13 grams||8 grams||6 grams||18 grams|
|Amount||1 cup||1/2 cup||1/2 cup||8 oz.||1 cup||1/4 cup||1 cup||23 nuts||1 scoop|
|Animal Source||Halibut/Salmon||Eggs||Canned Tuna||Chicken Breast||Anchovies||Ground Turkey||Whey Powder|
|Protein Grams||22 grams||6 grams||14 grams||24 grams||24 grams||22 grams||24 grams|
|Amount||3 oz.||1||2 oz.||3 oz.||3 oz.||4 oz.||1 scoop|