Proteins are not just chicken and eggs. There are so many sources of protein that many people do not know about.
If you are on a restricted diet due to allergies, sports or illness, protein may be a touchy subject. To figure out your need for protein, just multiply your body weight by 0.36. This will be the number of grams of protein you should ingest in a single day.
If you are an athlete, then you need more than this recommended value. Sedentary adults should ingest 0.8 g/kg of body weight, recreational athletes 1.0 g/kg, endurance athletes 1.2-1.4 g/kg and strength athletes 1.2-1.7 g/kg.
Many popular sources of protein are chicken, salmon, eggs, almonds, lean beef and fish. Vegetarians and vegans can get their bulk of protein from foods such as quinoa, soy, beans and other vegetables.
Athletes who are vegetarian should eat a little more protein than normal. This is because they eat plant-based proteins and not animal protein sources. Protein gives you the energy you need during the day and increases muscle mass and strength throughout the body. They are also needed to make enzymes and hormones throughout the body.
Taking in the correct amount of protein each day, and even a little bit more, has many benefits. They can speed up recovery time, reduce muscle loss and build muscle post-exercise, and even help control hunger during the day. Proteins also help regulate and balance fluid levels in the body.
There are three major types of proteins: complete, incomplete and complementary. Animal proteins are complete, and plant proteins are incomplete. Complete proteins contain all the vital amino acids that the body needs. Incomplete proteins contain most but not all of the vital amino acids that the body needs.
Complementary proteins are two incomplete proteins (plant-based proteins) that provide all the vital amino acids together. Some examples of complementary protein pairings are hummus with pita bread, a grilled cheese sandwich and yogurt with nuts.
Before exercise, athletes should consume seven to 21 grams of protein, preferably in a meal. A small amount of fat is also recommended here. Some examples of a pre-workout snack are a piece of fruit with some nut butter, a small handful of dried fruit and raw, unsalted nuts, and oatmeal with peanut butter and fruit.
No protein should be consumed during exercise or competition. Immediately after exercise, 20 to 30 grams should be consumed within the first hour. This can be consumed any way, whether that is in a drink or meal; it is all up to preference.
Some great post-workout, high-protein snacks are Greek yogurt, eggs and low-fat chocolate milk. Low-fat chocolate milk is the perfect post-workout snack because it replaces all the calories you burned, and the protein helps in aiding muscle recovery. It also contains almost 25 grams of carbohydrates in one serving. This is perfect for replacing glycogen stores post-workout.
If getting this much protein is an issue, then supplements may be worth your while. There are many types of protein powders such as whey, casein and soy. Whey protein powder promotes muscle growth and strength. It also increases the release of hormones. Casein protein powder promotes fat loss and increases muscle strength. It also helps amino acids stay in the body longer. Soy protein powder improves cholesterol levels, helps repair muscles post workout, increases immunity and increased consumption of isoflavones. Remember to always check everything on the label before purchasing or ingesting any type of supplement.
Always drink fluids pre, during and post workout! Proteins are essential in a daily diet so do not forget to incorporate them every day!
Mallory Ritthamel is a third-year student majoring in nutrition. She can be reached at MR826188@wcupa.edu.