Protein Power

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.

Greek-Yogurt-1-lighter
Greek Yogurt has 23 grams of protein per cup.

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.

foods-high-in-protein-for-wound-healing.-Advanced-Tissue
Nuts and seeds are a great source of good fats and protein

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.

proteinpowder
Protein powders can be a good way to add extra protein to your shakes. Read labels carefully to make sure you aren’t getting anything you don’t need or want.

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. 

Protein sources:

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