A nutritionist explains why protein isn’t just for big muscles
By now, we all know that eating a good serve of chicken, fish, eggs, tofu or your other favourite source of delish protein after a session is important. Why? Because it helps our muscles repair of course. However, the protein we eat isn’t only good for getting stronger, more toned muscles (even though that’s awesome) it also plays a role in many other important functions inside our bods. We spoke to Isowhey nutritionist Belinda Reynolds about the many benefits of a good protein source and why it’s more than just our muscles that benefit from a protein hit.
Feel fuller for longer
Feeling peckish? A little protein hit could crush those cravings. “High protein foods are shown to prolong satiety, meaning that you feel more satisfied for longer and are less likely to over-eat. When you’re looking to avoid snacking or falling off the wagon, these kinds of meals are useful as they promote the maintenance of lean muscle mass, and help to promote the loss of fat,” Reynolds explains.
Better balanced meals
Protein in our meals isn’t just important to help our muscles repair and regenerate but also to provide a more balanced energy source. “High protein meals also tend to have a lower glycaemic index, meaning that any sugar from the meal is released into the blood at a more steady pace, reducing the risk of sugar cravings and energy slumps that see you reaching for the wrong type of food as a pick-me-up,” says Reynolds. Eating meals balanced in carbohydrates, protein and fat offers a more sustainable form of energy so make sure you have each source available in your main meals.
Supporting a healthy bod
While protein is a key building block for our muscles it also supports many enzymes and hormones as well as the growth of luscious hair, strong nails, and the maintenance of healthy internal organs such as the gut. “Without sufficient protein, and the amino acids they provide, we wouldn’t function at our peak, and health can be compromised,” says Reynolds.
“Our body requires the essential amino acids found in protein, and as amino acids maintain muscle recovery and growth, you may end up feeling more sore and weak after a workout if you aren’t consuming enough. Plus, because of the additional roles protein plays, insufficient intake can also result in poor hair and nail health,” says Reynolds.
Reynolds recommends getting your protein from diverse sources including eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds, legumes, dairy products and quality protein powders (without artificial additives).