-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN
I’m sure most of you have heard of and even tried some different protein powders by now, but many of you may still have lots of questions! You see protein powders being marketed all over social media and at supplement stores, but what does it really do? Who should take it? How much should you consume? What are the best sources of protein? These are all questions that can be hard to find proper answers to, so here is a little “Protein 101” to help guide you through the sea of information out there!
First Thing First, What is Protein?
Protein is one of the 4 main macronutrients required by the human body. Proteins are made up of different combinations of amino acids. Of the 20 amino acids, our bodies can make 11 of them. The other 9 we must get from our diets, and they are considered “essential amino acids”. It is very important to ensure we are getting a combination of all of the essential amino acids, as they all have different roles in our bodies. Proteins are considered to either be complete or incomplete. Complete proteins contain all nine of the essential amino acids, where incomplete proteins only contain some of them. It is important to eat a variety of foods and combine protein sources in order to obtain all of the essential amino acids on a daily basis.
What Are The Health Benefits of Protein?
There are endless benefits of protein, but here are some of the biggest:
- Proteins are used to make bone, skin, nails, hair, muscle, cells, and play a major role in the production and action of enzymes, which are involved in nearly every function in the body.
- Increase in muscle mass and lean tissue. Eating protein triggers the synthesis of the building of muscle tissue.
- Less hunger and lower calorie intake. Protein is filling, and can help keep you feel full for longer. This reduces the total amount of calories taken in.
- Better bone density and less risk of osteoporosis.
- Stronger tendons and faster recovery from injury. Greater protein synthesis accelerates the repair of tissue and strengthens connective tissue, which results in less risk of injury.
Animal Sources of Proetin:
Beef, Poultry, Eggs, Seafood, Greek Yogurt, Milk, ect.
Plant-Based Sources of Protein:
Quinoa, Lentils, Beans, Hemp Hearts, Chia Seeds, Nuts and Seeds, Tofu, ect.
Choosing a Protein:
Protein supplements have become quite popular, especially in the fitness industry. Even though they will techniqually help you meet your protein and amino acid requirements, there are a few problems with protein powders:
1. Protein powders are heavily processed in order to isolate the protein. They lack other important nutrients that naturally accompany whole food sources of protein. For example, fish also contains healthy fats.
2. During the processing of protein supplements, companies are often left with a bad tasting protein product. In order to improve the taste and increase sales, most protein powders are filled with sugars, artificial colors and flavours, MSG, trans fats, and other additives.
Real food sources of protein are much more easily digestible, contain other beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutritents, and even cost less than expensive protein powders.
How Much Protein Should I Consume On A Daily Basis?
This number is very dependant on your activity level, but the average person should consume around 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. If you’re training heavy in the gym, or looking to eat a higher protein diet, around 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight is often recommended. For example, a 150 pound person could eat anywhere from 120 g- 195g of protein per day.
*This number is very different for everybody based on their goals, activity level, history, and many other factors.
At Healthfare, we strive to create meaningful connections with food and with people. We take your health seriously, and only want to serve the best quality foods possible! We believe in real food made simple. With that being said, we would love to introduce you to our newest menu item, the Healthfare Protein Blend! Our protein blend is made with a mixture of Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, and Hemp Hearts. This real food, plant-based, all-natural blend packs a punch with 18g of protein per serving! This easily digestible protein blend contains all 20 amino acids (and most importantly, all 9 essential amino acids), ensuring the best results and health benefits possible! Not only will our blend help you meet your protein needs, it also contains fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, magnesium, B vitamins, calcium, and many other amazing nutrients! The Healthfare protein blend goes perfectly when added to our delicious smoothie options, or could even be added to our yogurt parfaits.
-Post written by Alyssa Horton, RHN