Workout Wednesday #8

Protein

There is a lot of BS and "Bro Science" that circulates around Protein, with Men's magazines and websites selling ridiculous statements like.. Do you like being lean as f**k, with abs on your abdominals, the ability to shoot fireballs with your eyes and levitate when you sleep??! - Please note: the qualities above are not guaranteed by Protein.

Protein is often discussed in relation to bodybuilding and less so in relation to general exercise, health and wellbeing.

Whilst everyone knows Protein forms an important part of our diet, especially when exercising. It's benefits, consumption amounts and the food sources it can be obtained from are sometimes less well known.


What Is Protein?

Protein is the second of the three macronutrients we will be discussing. If you missed our post on Carbohydrates, be sure to check it out.

Proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids, which are essential molecules for all metabolic processes. Amino Acids, such as Glutamine, Arginine and Glycine, allow for the break down, transport and storage of all nutrients, including Protein, Fat, Carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and water.

Our bodies can make some amino acids on its own but we depend on Protein from food to obtain the rest. The amino acids we obtain from food are considered "essential" because we cannot make them ourselves.

Protein contains 4 calories per gram.

So, What Does It Actually Do

- Preserves muscle

The amino acids in Protein form the building blocks of your muscles. Eating enough protein (along with Carbohydrate and Fat) prevents your body from breaking down your muscle for energy.

- Helps with muscle recovery

During exercise our muscles are challenged and their fibres breakdown and sustain damage. The process of repairing and rebuilding those muscle fibres is called Muscle Protein Synthesis and uses amino acids from Protein to achieve this and encourage healthy recovery and growth.

- Keeps you fuller for longer

Eating Protein can keep us feeling fuller for longer. Protein stimulates some hormones in our gut that tell our brain that we are full.

- Source of necessary nutrients

Protein provides us with essential nutrients, such as B12, which build red blood cells and promote neurological function.

- Important for hair and nail health

Protein is essential in the healthy growth and the strength of our hair and nails.

Sources Of Protein

We can get Protein from many different sources. Using a variety of good quality sources is key.

This list is not exhaustive but some common sources of Protein are: Meat, Fish, Dairy (think Milk, Cheese, Yoghurt), Grains and Pulses (think Lentils, Beans, Quinoa, Rice, Cous Cous) and Vegetables.

Protein & Exercise

As mentioned above Protein helps prevent muscle loss and promotes the growth and healthy repair and recovery of muscle tissue. This is crucial for anyone taking part in regular exercise.

When we exercise, we put strain and stress on our muscles, breaking down the fibres within them. Therefore, it is essential we are consuming enough Protein for Muscle Protein Synthesis to take place as this is this basis for achieving hypertrophy (growth in muscle size).

The process of breaking down and repairing our muscles allows us to lift heavier, push harder and workout for longer. Our muscles will adapt to the stresses we put on them, becoming stronger over time.

Additional Benefits

Protein has many other health benefits too. These include but are not limited to:

Fighting Cancer, Improved Immunity, Helps Stabilise Blood Sugar, Improves Mood, Promotes Healthy Brain Functions and Learning, Maintain Strong Bone, Slow Ageing and Promote Longevity.

Final Thoughts

Protein is used by our bodies all day, every day. They perform a vital role is developing, growing and maintaining just about every part of our body: from our skin, hair and nails, to our digestive enzymes, immune system and muscular skeletal system.

If we want to be able to perform at our best, we need to be consuming Protein, ideally from a range of healthy, nutritious sources, with each major meal.

The topic of Protein and Nutrition is enormous and can get very specific. The information provided in this post is only meant to serve as a guide to the benefits of Protein and to highlight some of the important functions it  provides.


It is important to remember that we are all different and our needs when it comes to Nutrition will be as unique to ourselves as we are to each other.

What are your thoughts on the topic? What are your experiences with different Protein sources?

Let us know.

The Springhealth Team