Protein is an essential dietary component every living organism requires. It can be consumed and used in many ways. However, to maximize your workouts and overall health it is important to discover the ways your body best responds to certain proteins.
Where to Find Protein
If you only think of grilled chicken, eggs, or protein bars when you think of protein, then you're missing out on all the other healthy protein resources. Plant-based protein such as tofu, nuts, seeds, hemp hearts, legumes, whole grains, and veggies can provide you with the protein your body craves. These foods also offer fiber that can also help reduce heart disease, cancer, and help with weight control. Likewise, if you're vegetarian or vegan, it's also important to eat a variety of plant-based protein sources in order to get the nine amino acids that aren't manufactured by your body.
Exercise and Protein
When you exercise, protein becomes necessary in repairing muscles and making them stronger. Eating protein within 30 minutes of finishing a workout and choosing foods that have branched-chain amino acids (valine, leucine, isoleucine) will help your body recover. These are found in dairy products, eggs, roasted peanuts, and some protein powders that you can blend into a smoothie. Research shows these foods can reduce muscle soreness.
Experts push protein when it comes to weight loss because it regulates your appetite and satiates hunger. However, make sure you’re aiming for no more than 20 to 30 grams of protein at each meal because the body can only absorb that amount at one time. Spread your daily protein amount over the course of all your meals and snacks.
High Protein Snacks
Snacks aren't always something you eat when you're bored or experience a massive sugar craving. They needed to satisfy your hunger long enough to get you to your next meal. They're also great opportunities to fill holes in your diet that meals alone don't meet. To satisfy your
appetite and help you meet your daily protein requirement, be sure that your snack supplies you between 6 and 10 grams of protein. Instead of noshing on a plain apple, pair it with some peanut butter. Other great protein-packed options are soy milk, nuts, cheese, Greek yogurt, edamame, and whole-grain toast.
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