Nutrition Bites - Protein Review
I say protein, you think muscle! Of course, most of us know that protein is needed to build muscle... but did you know that it plays a crucial role in your immune system, moving materials through your body, working as part of hormones and allowing muscles to adapt to training (not just by growing muscle size, but making them more efficient at things like using oxygen!)? That's quite a to-do list!
Proteins are made of different combinations of amino acids and are found in animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, fish and plant sources like soy, nuts/seeds, grains, legumes/beans, and some grains. Protein from animal sources are called "complete" since all the essential amino acids are present. Plant sources are "incomplete" because the only contains some amino acids, can be made complete when paired with certain grains (since grains also have amino acids.). These are called complementary proteins. Examples include: pasta + cheese, rice+beans, wheat bread+peanut butter
Your body can't really store protein, so having it throughout the day will be more beneficial than having a giant protein shake at once. Aim to have protein at meals and after a workout, as it will give your body the macro and micronutrients it needs to start repairing the "damage" done with exercise.
While everyone's needs are a bit different, the average endurance runner needs at least one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight (1 kilogram= 2.2lbs)
Key Points: Protein is crucial for health. Aim to eat protein foods throughout the day and especially include it in your post-workout meal or snack.