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Protein. You’ve probably heard of it a million times. It’s good for building muscle, it’s good for your body in general, and it seems like it is a must-have substance in your diet. But how exactly do you include protein in your diet, what benefits does it have for your body, and what is the best time to eat protein?
What is protein?
Let’s start with talking about what protein is. Protein is a molecule made up of chains of amino acids, 20-22 of them, and is found in almost every single part of your body from your muscles to your bones. Of the 20 amino acids that make up protein, only 11 of them can be made in your body. The other 9 (called essential amino acids) have to be obtained from food. That is why eating protein is so important to the function of your body.
What are the benefits of eating protein?
There are many benefits to eating protein because it is the building block of your bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin. The Biological Benefits include…
It builds and repairs tissue.
It oxygenates your body.
It makes enzymes that aid in digestion and making new cells.
Helps to regulate hormones.
As well as the biological benefits, there are many benefits that protein brings to your body in fitness.
Speeds up recovery after exercise/injury.
Reduces muscle loss over time which can help you prevent injury and aging in the future.
Builds muscle mass and strength. If you’re trying to put on muscle, protein is just the thing you need.
Helps to maintain a healthy weight.
Protein helps to regulate your metabolism. It keeps you full longer and reduces cravings. If you’re constantly hungry or in a ‘snacky’ mood, protein can help you reduce those cravings and hunger feelings. It is not digested as fast as other foods and sticks around longer in your stomach.
What is the best time of day to eat protein?
Many studies have found that the best time to eat protein is in the morning. Your body metabolizes different macronutrients better at different times in the day. Your body’s natural rhythm is usually to build muscle early in the day. This is called the Circadian Rhythm. Or body clock and it is basically the schedule of how your body functions.
What is the worst time of day to eat protein?
The worst time of day to eat protein is at night. This is because protein can be difficult to digest and it contains the amino acid Tyrosine, which can keep your brain active even though you are trying to relax.
Which foods are complete proteins?
How can you get protein if you don’t eat meat?
In order to get protein as someone who doesn’t eat meat is through soy and soy products as well as beans, and supplement powders from pea protein, hemp protein, and a blend of plant proteins. Dairy products are also very rich in protein. If you don’t eat dairy however, you may have to eat a variety of foods to get complete proteins. Tofu, Tempeh, Quinoa, Chia Seeds are vegan friendly complete proteins.
Protein is one of the most important substances for your body to function. Making sure that you're getting enough protein every day is key to maintaining overall health. Other things you should do to maintain a balanced lifestyle is drink water, try to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, and do one thing that makes you happy per day.