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Athletes fill up your plate with lots of protein – here’s why!

Lisa Suwal
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
97   //    04 Jun 2019, 22:25 IST

A diet that has protein in adequacy can boost work performance as well as enhance learning and motor skills, whereas inadequate protein consumption has the ability to do the opposite.
A diet that has protein in adequacy can boost work performance as well as enhance learning and motor skills, whereas inadequate protein consumption has the ability to do the opposite.

Proteins can be deemed as the founding components of all tissues in the human body that also play essential roles in metabolism, immunity, fluid balance, and energy. They help in building muscle, skin, enzymes and hormones, so while you may watch your calories, sugar and salt intake, you should also make sure you are ingesting enough protein. Obviously, a protein deficiency can have a big impact on body functions.

However, many people fail to recognize the importance of protein in our body and neglect the consumption of a sufficient quantity. A diet that is chronically deficient in this nutrient can lead to a variety of unwanted health issues like hair loss, slow recovery from injury, low energy, poor sleep, and weakened immunity. A diet that has protein in adequacy can boost work performance as well as enhance learning and motor skills, whereas inadequate protein consumption has the ability to do the opposite.

Protein for well-being

If you want to build and maintain muscle mass, you need to eat enough dietary protein. Protein is the fuel for your muscles, so they will suffer if you deprive them of it. The initial effect of low protein intake is muscle deterioration, accompanied by increasing weakness, and gradually, this diet can cause your body to lose lean muscle mass.

A low protein diet can also cause fatigue and weight gain. A fitting workout will also not yield desirable results because your diet is not providing you with the adequate nutrients and the energy that you need to complete a productive workout.

Dietary proteins also play a crucial role in bone maintenance. Strong muscles help protect bones from conditions like osteoporosis, and eating enough protein protects against progressive muscle loss with age. Dietary protein is known to stimulate growth factors that strengthen bone and muscle, as well as increase calcium absorption.

Furthermore, protein deficiency adversely affects the brain’s functioning too. Your brain has the ability to control all of the hormones which are necessary for a good night’s sleep. When your body lacks the protein necessary to maintain a healthy brain, it can lead to a hormonal imbalance which will ultimately have an effect on your sleep. This consequently affects our immunity too. Without enough protein, we're at a much higher risk for falling sick due to almost any germs we're exposed to.

Bring on the Protein

Existing data suggests that it’s the source of protein or the protein package, rather than the amount of protein that likely makes a difference for our health. According to RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) the average person needs about 7 grams of protein every day for every 20 pounds of body weight. Since protein is found in an abundance of foods, many people can easily meet this goal. However, not all protein packages are formulated similarly. Every food contains a lot more than protein, like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, saturated fat, etc. so it’s also important to pay attention to what else comes along.

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Upgrade your sources of animal protein. Considering the protein package is particularly important when it comes to animal-based foods:

  • Largely, poultry (chicken, turkey, duck) and a variety of seafood are the best bet. Eggs are a great choice, too.

  • Red Meats—which includes raw pork, lamb and goat meat - is also a good source of protein, however, should consider eating it in moderate amounts.
  • Deli Meats, such as bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and cold cuts are modern-day preferences. These are quick meal options that can boost your protein intake and thus widely preferred by the working population owing to time constraints.
  • Incorporating dairy foods like yoghurt is perhaps a better choice than getting all your servings from milk or cheese
  • People following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods throughout the day to get an adequate mix of amino acids. For instance, a meal containing cereals and legumes, such as baked beans on toast, provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish. Other vegetarian sources of protein are soy products, chickpeas, quinoa seeds, flax seeds, etc.



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