daily basis. Every fitness article, book, website, and trainer you talk to says be sure and gets lots of protein. So that got me to thinking. I know I need this stuff called protein but what the heck is it and why do I need it. So I did some research and found a ton of information online.
My post below is a summary of all that information. This is part one of a series of post I plan on writing about protein. Hopefully, you find this information interesting and it inspires you to take a look at your current diet and make changes if needed.
What Is Protein And What Can It Do For You?
Protein is the most well known of the three macronutrients mainly due to its muscle building properties. But it does much more than just that. In fact every cell in your body requires protein to function correctly. Most people get all the protein they need from their diet. But if you are working out and trying to build muscle you may need more than a well balanced diet can provide. Continue reading for a full overview of this important macronutrient.
A Quick Overview To Protein
As stated above protein is a macronutrient. It is one of the three main nutrients your body needs to survive. Protein is built from chains of amino acids. Your body contains 23 amino acids in total and each of these supports your body in different ways. These amino acids are classified in two main groups.
- Essential Amino Acids - This group contains 8 of the 23 essential amino acids. These are considered essential because your body does not produce them. The only way to obtain these 8 amino acids is from diet alone.
- Non-Essential Amino Acids - This group contains the remaining 15 amino acids. Your body can produce these amino's which is why they are considered non-essential.
Protein Plays An Important Role In Your Body
Your body is made up of all different types of cells, including muscle cells, skin cells, blood cells, and vital organ cells. Proteins role in your body is to build, maintain, and repair all of these cells that make up your body. Is it important? I'd say so. After eating foods that contain protein your body breaks down the protein into amino acids. These amino's then create new proteins that support new and existing cells throughout your body.
If that wasn't enough protein is also responsible for muscle contractions, maintaining fluid balance, producing antibodies, enzymes, and hormones.
This is just a high level overview of what role protein plays in the body. For more detailed information just do a quick Google search and you will find everything you need.
What Foods Contain Protein?
One of the best ways to obtain protein for your body is by consuming animal products such as steak,
chicken, fish, and dairy. All of which contain high levels of protein. However, protein can also be found in many plant based products. For example, nuts, seeds, soybeans are all good sources of protein. I personally like to eat black beans which are also rich in this very important nutrient.
If you are not able to get enough protein through natural sources, which is often the case when lifting weights. You should consider whey protein supplements. Whey protein is an easy way to add extra protein to you diet.
I hope that this high level overview gives you a better understanding of the protein macronutrient and how and why you should consume it everyday. If you are currently not getting enough protein consider making some changes to your diet so you can enjoy the many benefits it has to offer.