Proteins are probably the least understood macronutrient and for good reason, they’re really complicated.
Fitness junkies seem to know what they do to our bodies, but not everyone is as clued up. TRAIN for HER is going to break down a basic guide to protein.
What is protein?
Broadly speaking, nutritional proteins are molecular chains of amino acids which the body needs for a variety of different functions. These include muscle and tissue growth, hormone signaling and digestion. They’re found in the foods we eat and all contain different amounts and types of amino acids.
Why do we need it?
When we exercise, and expose our muscle fibers to stress, they experience microscopic damages. Your injured cells release inflammatory molecules called cytokines which help repair the muscles. This is fundamentally how muscles grow and protein plays a key role in exercise recovery and muscle repair.
Does it help fuel us?
Also, the more protein in your diet, the fewer calories you tend to eat. It’s is also a great weight loss aid because of its high thermic effect, which means your body burns more calories when digesting it.
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Where can I find proteins?
There is a difference between protein-containing food and proteins. Peanut butter, for example, has eight grams of in, however it contains 16 grams of fat, therefore is not considered a rich source of protein.
Protein rich foods include:
• Greek Yoghurt
What about vegans?
There’s a rumor going around that vegans don’t get a lot of protein. While it’s true that most of the protein we require comes from animal products such as meat and dairy foods, foods such as beans, lentils and nut butters have a good amount of protein in.
However, they aren’t complete proteins so, if you’re 100% plant based, it can be harder to incorporate into your diet. If you’re working out a lot, reaching for powders or supplements might be necessary to get the amount your body needs.
How much should I be eating?
For non-active people the equation for how much daily protein you should eat is 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. For more active people, you should aim for 1.4 to 2.2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
If you aren’t into calculations and counting, using visual aids such as the palm of your hand can help estimate servings. For active women, eat four to six palms of protein per day.
These are just guides however, you should listen to your body and adjust your intake depending on how you feel.
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