Continuing on from our last blog post, today we are taking you through a more in depth look at one of the macronutrients – Protein.

Chemically protein contains carbon + hydrogen + oxygen + nitrogen which combine into amino acids linked in chains. There are 20 + proteins, all of which have the same basic structure but are distinguished by their unique side chain which influences their structure and therefore effect.

Amino acids make up the literal build blocks of your body forming your muscles, blood, skin, teeth and eyes.  Amino acids also facilitate thousands of chemical reactions in your body through their role as enzymes, joining two separate substances together to create another. And lets not stop there! Proteins also make up some of your hormones and defend against disease through their role as antibodies which are your bodies little army busy day and night protecting you from illness.

Sources of protein include meat (chicken, steak, seafood), eggs, soy, chickpeas, quinoa, nuts, chia seeds, lentils, cottage cheese, beans, legumes, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, peanut butter.

What is important to note is that amino acids (protein) are broken up into two groups, non-essential and essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids mean that your body can make them on its own if you aren’t eating them. Essential amino acids, of which there are nine, cannot be made by the body in the quantity needed to perform their necessary functions. This means that if you are not eating foods that contain these nine essential amino acids regularly, you become deficient. This consequently impacts on the processes they play a pivotal role in the body, and is why it’s important to ensure you’re eating a wide variety of foods from the list above.

Ideally each meal you eat throughout the day will contain protein to stabilise your blood sugar levels, in turn reducing any cravings for sugar and fat as well as keeping you fuller for longer. This is the reason that we strongly recommend all our clients consume a protein rich breakfast to start their day as well as including protein in snacks. Great protein rich snacks include boiled eggs, mixed nuts, tuna or a protein shake.

One of, if not the most common excuse people (in particular women) have for not wanting to eat too much protein is that they don’t want to get ‘too muscly’. This is an age old myth that is perpetuated by large scale supplement companies using big beefy men to advertise their protein supplements. Real talk, drinking a protein shake will not cause muscles to spontaneously appear on your body, much to the dismay of body builders worldwide. Body builders, bikini, figure competitors and the like have to work extremely hard in the gym and eat an incredibly precise diet to get them into competition shape. They don’t just add a protein shake and some chicken breasts in to their everyday and then travel the world winning first at the Arnold Classics.

Protein is not to be shied away from. It is a pivotal component of your body, literally it’s your body’s building blocks! Focus on consuming the foods listed above as part of your everyday intake and ensure you start the day off right with a protein rich breakfast to make sure you’re fuelled for the day ahead.

If you have any questions, would like more information on protein shakes, or if you are interested in building muscle mass let us know and we’ll dedicate another blog post to these topics.

What more support? Email us for a list of the nutritional services we offer.