Protein is an important macronutrient (see this post if you're thinking what on earth are macronutrients?) which ensures the normal health and function of your body. Despite some very strange suggestions on the internet to the contrary, everyone needs protein in their daily diet as we aren't capable of making it within the body.
It's got the power!
Without going into all the science and terminology, proteins are the building blocks of your body; skin, muscles, organs, glands all require protein for growth, development and maintenance... protein repairs cells and makes new ones.
Where do I get it from?
As I mentioned, we're not capable of producing protein so we need to get it from what we eat. Personally, I love Paul Chek's explanation for where proteins generally come from which is 'something that has a set of eyes'. Of course there are exceptions to the rule - something of importance to vegans and vegetarians - as some plants contain protein although these tend to be in smaller amounts.
Foods which are good sources of protein include:
- lean turkey, chicken
- lean beef, veal and pork
- low fat and non fat cheese
- Tofu and tempeh
- yoghurt, milk and soy milk
- fish and shellfish
- greek and natural yoghurt
- nuts (and nut butters) and seeds
- beans (soy beans, kidney beans, white beans, lima beans, black beans, lava beans, mung beans, pinto beans), split peas and lentils
How much should I eat?
Generally in the UK, we don't eat enough protein with most people only filling their plate at dinner time. If you're trying to lose weight or improve your strength and fitness, eating an adequate amount of protein will get you to your goals quicker. Not only will it help keep you fuller for longer - keeping you out that kitchen cupboard, reaching for the biscuits - but it will also help you maintain lean muscle mass whilst you lose weight; a good thing because more muscle = more fat burning power!!
Recommendations of how much protein we should eat vary but it's also something that's very individual to you. The best way to approach things, without having to start weighing and measuring, is with a little bit of trial and error. Try to get a source of protein into every meal you eat in the day; about an hour later, take note of how you feel - focused, comfortably full and full of energy? You got it right!
Breakfast is probably the meal people find hardest with this but it doesn't need to be complicated or time-consuming. Why not head over to my Facebook page to see some of my own breakfast concoctions... or to share your own?
Spark Fitness is passionate about helping you become the healthiest, fittest and most confident you. Providing in-home and outdoors personal training in north Manchester and nutritional advice, find out how I can help you to spark your fitness journey without stepping foot in a gym here.
Stay tuned to the blog for the low down on... fats.