Protein Is What ?
Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass. It is commonly found in animal products, though is also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes.
There are three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Macronutrients provide calories or energy. The body requires large amounts of macronutrients to sustain life. Each gram of protein contains 4 calories. Protein makes up about 15 % of a person's body weight.
Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass.
When protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass, which helps metabolism. It also helps the immune system stay strong. It helps you stay full. A lot of research has shown that protein has satiety effects."
For example, two recent studies showed that satiety or feeling full after a meal, improved after consuming a high-protein snack.
Why We Need Protein ?
After water, protein is the main component of cells and is essential to life. Protein is used to build and maintain these parts of our body:
a). Skin, Hair and Nails: These are mainly composed of protein.
b). Haemoglobin: Transports oxygen around the body.
c). Collagen: Provides strength and structure to tissues (e.g. cartilage in joints).
d). Hormones: Acts as your body's chemical messengers.
e). Muscles: Those responsible for movement and the muscles around our organs and our heart.
f). Antibodies: Play a role in your immunity. After the age of 50, unless we act to prevent it, we may lose about 1% of muscle mass each year and with it, muscle strength.
It's important to maintain muscle mass because it's what helps keep us strong and keeps us moving - and that's what helps contribute to living a full and active life. Combining adequate dietary protein spread over the day with resistance exercise training using all the major muscle groups helps maintain muscle mass.
g). Enzymes: Regulate metabolism- they support important chemical reactions that allow you to digest food, generate energy to contract muscles, and regulate insulin production.
How To Get More Protein ?
a). Keep Nuts Handy
If you're wondering how to get more protein into your diet, nuts like almonds or walnuts are great to have around because they can be added to many different foods or eaten on their own as a snack. "In addition to sprinkling them on your yogurt, add nuts to your salad, breakfast cereal or in your oatmeal. "An easy tip is to keep a handful or almonds in a Ziploc bag to have on hand for when hunger strikes!" Just make sure to count out your serving so you don't get into a high-calorie habit of handful after handful or nut varieties. And as with most healthy foods, naked nuts are better than those flavoured or salted.
b). Greek Yogurt
Step aside traditional American yogurt, and allow Greek yogurt to take the spotlight. "It's rich in protein and so easy to eat as a snack or on the go. Just one serving of a Greek yogurt can add about 10 grams of protein into your day." For an extra 3 grams of protein, top your yogurt with an ounce of nuts (about a handful). These are healthiest ways to load up on lean protein.
c). Some Ancient Grains
For days when you're not swapping quinoa for pasta, experiment with other ancient grains, such as spelt, amaranth and teff, which are surprisingly packed with protein. Per cup, chewy spelt has over 10 grams of protein per cup, and nutty, buttery Kamut has more than 9 grams. Teff, which is slightly sweet, also has 9 grams of protein per cup, as does amaranth (technically a seed), which has a slightly earthy flavour. Sorghum, which is a bit bitter, comes in at 8 grams of protein per cup.
d). Prep Meat Strips
The best way to make sure you're actually getting the protein you need? To keep that essential nutrient at top of mind, every single time you set your table. "Each meal should be based on protein, whereby you consume at least 20 to 30 grams of protein (depending on body size and protein type) every three hours or so. If you prep lunches for the workweek, add one small step into your routine to rack up even more grams of protein. "You can prepare and cook extra portions of a lean protein like chicken or fish and keep it stored in the refrigerator to add to meals throughout the week. Try grilling or broiling to limit added fats. Consider it a healthier version of sprinkling salt (or Sriracha) on your meal.
e). Bean To Anything
Your vegan friends are onto something when they rave about how much they love creating culinary concoctions out of good 'ole simple beans. "Add lentils, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, white bean or black beans to meals like soups, pastas or salads. "Beans are full of fiber and average around 15 grams of protein per cup."
f). Eat hard - Boiled Eggs
Easter's mascot isn't just ideal for hunting in the backyard in your Sunday best; hard-boiled eggs (even if they aren't dyed pastel colors) are a great addition to your diet. "Make a batch of hard-boiled eggs to eat throughout the week. Having the eggs already cooked will make it easy to grab for a snack or an easy protein to add on top of a salad or to a meal." One hard-boiled egg can pack in 6 grams of protein. Eggs are also one of the best foods you can be eating for brain health, and although they do raise cholesterol, most people can safely eat an egg a day worry-free.
g). Eat More Snack
"Snack on two tablespoons of natural peanut butter with a banana or celery sticks. A peanut butter snack can add 8 grams of protein to your day." If you still love the "ants" part, add no more than a tablespoon of raisins, as they're pretty high in sugar. Can't eat peanut butter? Try hummus.
h). Eat Peas
If you've ever visited London and searched for the best "fish and chips," you probably noticed a side of "mushy peas" as an option. Just they sound, the Brits prefer their peas mashed, but regardless of how you eat them. "Peas can easily be thrown into salads, main dishes and also your soups. One cup of peas contains 8 grams of proteins." Some pea-lovers have been known to eat them frozen straight out of the freezer.
I). Go Asian Country
You go-to appetizer at your favorite sushi restaurant might be the reason you can only make it through two rolls before maxing out. "Munch on edamame for a low-calorie protein-packed snack." "One-half cup contains 9 grams of protein." Edamame, or soybeans, also deliver 300 mg or heart-healthy, brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
j). Coffee-Flavored Protein
You don't need us to remind you about the Sunday scaries or the Monday blues, but if you want a way to start off your week on the right foot. "Mornings are always hectic, leaving me in need of a jump start. I turn to coffee-flavoured protein, such as Maine Roast Protein Coffee, to gear up for a productive day. It not only boosts energy, but unlike traditional coffee, it sustains energy levels and prevents a mid-morning crash you might get with whey protein."
k). Fight Sweets With Healthy Stuff
Yet another birthday at work with cupcakes? Or extra stress have you aching for some sweets? "When I'm craving sweets, I reach for a chocolate 'milkshake' made with chocolate whey protein blended with frozen almond milk cubes. It's delicious, and the protein helps curb my craving for sweets."
L). Make Sweet Treats Better For You
When you have a moment of healthy-eating weakness, are you more likely to give in to the temptation of a salty, buttery bowl of mashed potatoes or a hunky slice of chocolate pie? If you're wondering how to get more protein and fiber into your favorite baked goods like banana bread, muffins, and breakfast cookies is to add pureed or mashed black or white beans or chickpeas. Try adding silken tofu to smoothies and puddings. No one will know your secret!
M). Dip Into Hummus
Slide over avocado and tortilla chips, and say hello to hummus with carrot sticks. "Hummus is chickpeas blended with tahini usually, so the protein quality is a bit better with than combo. "It makes an awesome high-protein dip for veggies."
N). Make DIY Trail Mix
Instead of purchasing a packaged snack pack that likely has tons of additives (looking at you sneaky sugar!). "Get your own favorite mix of nuts, seeds, and all the fun fixings. I like walnuts, almonds, dark chocolate chips and craisins." Or skip the craisins and add unsweetened coconut flakes instead. Nuts provide your daily dose of healthy fats, in addition to protein, and are filling and delicious to boot. (Just watch portions, as the calories add up quickly).
O). Stir In Egg Whites
Egg whites are packed with protein to keep you full and satisfied, and because they're nearly tasteless, you can add them into a variety of recipes. Recommended separating out a single eggs white to stir into your oatmeal in the morning. That will keep you from burning through the carbs of the oatmeal quickly and looking for snacks before lunch. If you're cooking oatmeal on the stove, add one whisked egg white to the bowl once the oatmeal is slightly cooled, or if you're making it in the microwave, stir in the whisked egg at the same time as the milk or water, pre-cooking.
p). Eat More Whole Grains
When faced with multigrain, basic white, or whole wheat options. The choice is easy when considering how to get more protein: whole grain, all the way. "For the same serving size, whole grain products like bread, flour, or pasta, typically have more protein than their refined counterparts". They also tend to have more vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. Look for "whole grain" to be first in the ingredient list.
Q). Double Up On Fish
Especially if you're strapped for time or tend to only cook once in a blue moon, making larger portions is the way to go. Preparing healthy fish in bulk makes it easy to make high-protein choices for several days. Four ounces of salmon has 23 grams of protein.
R). Use Hemp Hearts
Problem: You want to eat more protein but you don't want to necessarily change what you're eating, because you're a picky eater to begin with. "Hemp hearts are y go-to protein source when I don't want to change the flavour profile but still increase the protein content". "They are great to mix in oatmeal or sprinkle on salads."
S). Make Meatballs
On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese? - Skip the noodles and the parmesan, but double up on the tomato sauce and turkey meatballs. You'll still satisfy your craving for Italian, you'll rack up the lean protein, and you'll keep the refined carbs and saturated fat to a minimum. Here are the silent signs you could be eating too much protein.
T). Add Spirulina To Your Smoothies
One simple way for how to get more protein is to make it a topping. "This natural algae is one of the most potent protein sources available, with 16 grams per ounce! Not to mention it's a great source of antioxidants, B vitamins, iron, calcium and other nutrients. Add it to your fruit smoothies or protein shakes!"
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@ Jackie San