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The Power of Protein

19th July 2016

The Power of Protein
Think that you shouldn’t be eating too much protein because it will make you bulky or that it isn’t important when trying to loose weight?

Well you will be wrong in thinking so, as protein is crucial for both muscle building AND fat loss! As one of our three essential macronutrients, we need a good amount of protein in our diets everyday to ensure, muscles are repaired, grow and maintain optimal health.

Due to mixed messages, we have all been led to believe that only bodybuilder need to eat lots of protein, when in fact, we ALL need to keep on top of our protein intake to reach our physical goals. I hope that this blog post will help de-myth the reasons we need protein, as well as help you to enjoy plenty of delicious ways to consume it!

So let’s start off with what protein is made up of. Protein is practically plays apart in every part of our bodies. It is made up of amino acids, which help to keep us functioning at optimal levels. There are two groups of protein sources that we need:

Non-essential amino acids
These are the aminos created by our body, so we automatically have a good storage of them.

Essential amino acids
Now these aminos have to be coming from our dietary intake as our body cannot product them, yet we cannot remain healthy without them! In order to keep essential amino levels high, we must take in protein sources.

What to eat?
When most of us think about protein we think of meat, but it isn’t the only way to get in your essential aminos. Here are my recommended sources that you should try and get into your daily intake.
Complete protein – these foods contain ALL nine essential aminos needed. It is best to get the majority of your protein from these sources, so below are different varieties to choose from.

Poultry: Ah my ultimate favourite meat; chicken! Our feathered friends are an excellent way to get in all nine essential amino acids, as well as keeping the fat content of your meal low. There is also turkey which is another great poultry protein, if you fancy a change!

Red Meat: All contain high amounts of b-vitamin, iron and zinc, which are critical for our muscles. They do contain more fat than poultry, however this is a GOOD fat source! Opt for lean cuts such as sirloin or rib eye. Or if you enjoy minced meat, go for the extra lean cuts.

Wild Meats: Feeling adventurous? Then maybe you you should give some wild game meats a go! Like your regular sources, these meats are packed with amino acids. They do vary in their leanness but choices such as ostrich are ideal.

Not only is chicken a complete protein, so are the eggs that they produce (All hail the chicken!) Each egg contains around 6g protein, with a good source of fats that our bodies require. Why not try introducing a sweet or savoury omelette in the morning for your breakfast, or even make my special egg ‘fried’ rice!Egg whites are also a great option, especially for hose wishing to reduce their intake of fats, since it is the yolk that contains the fat.

Fish are friends.. AND food (despite what finding memo says) They give you essential omega 3’s to support your immune and circulation system, amongst other things. There are three types of fish oily and white. Oily fish such as salmon, are naturally higher in fat content, but are fundamental for our health. White fish such as tuna, are leaner cuts but still containing essential aminos.

Tend to be very lean so perfect for snacking on. Prawns, crab and scallops are great choices.

Other Sources
Incomplete protein – another way to introduce more protein, is through incomplete sources. They are called this because they don’t not have all nine aminos.

Greek Yoghurt: One of my favourite ways to add protein to both my meals and snacks. It is super versatile and tasty. Again, you can choose from the full fat our low fat options, but it is bests to have the full fat as it is good for you! For those of you with lactose intolerance, I recommend soya yoghurts.

Pulses and Beans: Not only good sources of protein but they tend to have a high fibre content too. Add to soups, casseroles, curries or make a homemade dip!

Nuts and Seeds: Known mainly for their content of good fats, nuts and seeds also have protein in them. Though it is a minimumal per serving so they are best to be kept for obtaining your fat intake.

For vegans protein is a often difficult problem to overcome, but there are plenty of meat free, dairy free options to choose from such as tofu and tempeh.

Protein Powder
The most common misconsumption about protein powder is that it is the best form of protein, when actually it is a supplement incorporated into a balanced diet. They are a great way to bump your protein up if you are stuck for time to eat a meal after a workout, or like myself I love to bake with them to create lots of protein treats!

There is the well-known whey protein, which is made from milk. However there is also Soya, Pea, Hemp and Rice proteins are all suitable for vegans and a good alternative for those who can have whey protein, as it give your digestive system a break from all the dairy.

To read more from the brilliant Sarah Pustkowski click here.