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The Importance of Protein

I’d like to go over the importance of having protein for breakfast, as well as after a workout. But first, I think it’s vital to give you a bit of an understanding of protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient that assists in building and maintaining lean muscle mass, strengthens immunity, repairs damaged cells and tissues, and can even work well as a sustained energy source. Talk about a nutrient that packs a punch! Additionally, there are a few different sources of protein, each with its own characteristics.

Whey protein is the most common and widely used. Isolate whey in particular is quickly absorbed by the body, helping muscles to recover and grow faster. Whey protein, however, can sometimes be an issue for those with milk allergies. Next is soy protein, which is a great replacement for whey. Soy supports healthy cholesterol levels due to the isoflavones, but can also boost thyroid hormone output, and, if used in excess, can be detrimental to both men and women. Now we come to my favorite protein powder, which is… veggie protein!

This is also referred to as plant protein. I used to stray away from veggie protein because it can become chalky and grainy, but then I discovered some great brands offering quality veggie protein. I’ll mention those later. Most veggie protein is comprised of chia, quinoa seed, pea protein isolate, and whole grain brown rice protein. It’s an excellent protein for anyone aiming to maintain an exceedingly clean diet or simply steering clear of whey and soy. Of the four main protein sources, egg protein is the final one. Egg protein has a great profile of amino acids and a high sulfur content, which helps build lean muscle mass. Egg whites are high in protein and contain no cholesterol, fats, or carbs.

An important thing to know when purchasing protein is how much your body needs. Everyone is different, of course, in his or her protein needs. For proper fuel and muscle health I know I need about 130 grams per day. I am 145 pounds and workout 4 days a week including heavy weight lifting, stretching, and cardio. I make protein a definite part of my routine, but I also know having carbs and fat are essential to my diet. There are some great tools on bodybuilding.com to assess just how much protein you may need.

Having protein in the morning jumpstarts your metabolism, supports your adrenals, and gives you sustained energy by providing a valuable fuel source for your body that sticks with you in case you’re unable to have another meal for awhile. Protein also provides essential amino acids for proper brain function. My favorite way to have protein in the morning is in a smoothie. Ill use fresh strawberries, blueberries, omega 3 oil, almond milk, chia/flax seeds/hemp seeds, almond butter, and of course veggie protein. If you’re having something packed with sugar in the morning it most likely won’t give you sustainable energy, however, if mixed with protein, it can give you a great boost!

I also love having protein after a workout. It’s a great way to give your body some needed fuel after working so hard. Protein after a workout helps trigger the production and recovery of muscles. I’ve noticed that if I don’t have it after a workout, I feel less energized, and become very sore.

The views expressed in this entry are strictly my opinion and do not reflect the views of Wishing U Well. Any decision to use supplements to support your specific needs should be considered in partnership with your healthcare professional. 


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