Hope you’re all reading this in good health … and muscle! Why do we muscle coz we’re talking protein today. Is muscle bad? Definitely not! Muscle helps with fat burn which can never be a bad thing. Let’s get back to our important macronutrient.
- Protein is an important part of a healthy diet.
- Proteins are made up of chemical ‘building blocks’ called amino acids.
- Your body uses amino acids to build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes. They can also be used as an energy source.
Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids.
- Animal products (such as chicken or fish and dairy products) have all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein (or ideal or high-quality protein).
- Soy products, quinoa and the seed of leafy greens like amaranth also have all of the essential amino acids.
- Plant proteins (beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains) usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.
How do you get your optimum protein intake without supplements
If you’re looking for ways to get more protein into your diet, here are some suggestions:
- Try a tablespoon of peanut butter with an apple. Use natural peanut butter with no added salt, sugar or other additives.
- Low-fat paneer is high in protein and can go in your eggs, quinoa or yogurt as a spread.
- Nuts and seeds are fantastic in salads, with vegetables and served on top of curries. Try toasting some almonds and putting them in your green salad.
- Beans are great in soups, curries and pasta sauces. Try tipping a drained can of cannellini beans into your favourite vegetable soup recipe or casserole.
- A plate of hummus and freshly cut vegetable sticks as a snack or hummus spread on your sandwich will give you easy extra protein during the day.
- Yogurt is a protein rich food that you can use throughout the day. Add some on your breakfast porridge, put a spoonful on top of a bowl of soup or serve it as dessert with some fresh fruit.
- Eggs are a versatile and easy option that can be enjoyed on their own or mixed in a variety of dishes.
Protein – maintaining muscle mass as you age
From around 50 years of age, humans begin to gradually lose skeletal muscle. This is known as sarcopenia and is common in older people. Loss of muscle mass is worsened by chronic illness, poor diet and inactivity.
Meeting the daily recommended protein intake may help you maintain muscle mass and strength. This is important for maintaining your ability to walk and reducing your risk of injury from falls.
To maintain muscle mass, it’s important for older people to eat protein ‘effectively’. This means consuming high-quality protein foods, such as lean meats.
Protein and exercise
Soon after exercising, it’s recommended that you have a serve of high-quality protein (such as a glass of milk or tub of yogurt) with a carbohydrate meal to help maintain your body’s protein balance. Studies have shown this to be good for you, even after low to moderate aerobic exercise (such as walking), particularly for older adults
Hope this article helps you consciously consume a balanced amount of natural protein in all your main meals.
founder – Kilobeaters