Thursday, 18 October 2012

Protein power

Well I'm already making tweaks from my Food Doctor reading and first on the list is upping my protein intake.

I'm a bit of a carb monster usually and having given up most meat and seafood it's made it even easier to end up eating carb heavy meals.

However skipping the protein isn't a good move as protein is an essential macronutrient, and also one that you can't absorb alot of in one go. Just because you have a big steak with your dinner, it doesn't mean you're getting as much as you need.

So what do you need it for?
Well firstly it's the building blocks for all our cells, not just our muscles, so a good regular supply of protein is needed to keep every part of your body in good nic. This includes hair, skin and nails which can become dull and weak with insufficient protein.

It's also of course the main constituent of your muscles so in order to maintain muscle mass and repair damaged muscle tissues you need plenty of protein, particularly after exercise and also more so as you get older when you body get's less efficient at digesting and utilizing protein so your muscles can start to waste. A higher lean muscle mass also raises your metabolism helping to avoid unhealthy weight gain.

Protein plays a key role in endocrine hormone balance and also blood sugar regulation. Insufficient protein can impair your thyroid and adrenal function leading to fatigue and inability to burn fats for energy. Eating protein with carbohydrates also helps slow the rate of digestion thereby reducing the amount of insulin you produce in response and so keeping your blood sugar more stable.

Pretty important stuff isn't it!

With protein on the brain I made sure every meal and snack today had some added protein and did find my energy levels were more consistent. I had a rice protein shake to supplement my breakfast cereal, I then had some plain soya yoghurt with raspberries for my midmorning snack, lunch was brown rice sushi with salmon, for my afternoon snack I had some major crisp cravings, but with protein in mind I had a palmful of raw almonds. Dinner was tofu stirfry.

As Ian Marber says, when you sit down to eat any meal or snack you should ask yourself 'Where is my protein'?

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