What is Protein?
So how many times have you heard how protein is essential for good health, for weight loss, for muscle buildup etc? Umpteen times, right? But do you know what exactly is protein and how does it help you?
Read on to find out.
Protein is the building block of your body. A very important nutrient, it builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in the body. It also serves as fuel for energy that you need not only to exercise, but to perform your daily routine activities.
So you thought that only body builders need protein, huh? Wrong! All of us do - the amount of intake varies from person to person, and depends on the specific purpose you need it for. For example a normal person requires 2 gms protein/kg body weight but in the case of body builders it can be more. So if you weigh say 60 kg, you need 120 gms of protein.
Protein is especially important for people who are trying to lose weight â€“ why â€“ â€˜cos it takes longer to digest, helping you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories â€“ helps you NOT reach for that slab of chocolate when the hunger pangs strike J
Another extremely important role that Protein plays is in helping repair damaged muscles and tissues that occur during exercise and/or general wear-and-tear. Before your workout, Protein can help minimize muscle damage, but it is even more important to consume some after a workout. If you exercise regularly but find yourself low energy or feel that you are not building any muscle in spite of heavy-duty weight-training, it may be due to not having enough protein in your diet.
So where do I get this protein from? Many people still believe that protein is only available from meat and we will all fall over dead without animal protein! NOT so!! We know that meat, eggs and dairy products are the more commonly-known sources of protein. But what about vegetarians? Where do they source their protein from?
There are plenty of options for the vegetarian junta - dairy products like milk, curd, paneer, beans and legumes, nuts, soy and soy products like tofu, grains like wheat quinoa, and yes vegetables like peas, corn, spinach, broccoli etc. are all protein-packed.
So amp up on your protein, exercise and get fit and fabulous!
A word of caution though â€“ too much of protein, as most things in life, is NOT good, especially for your kidneys â€“ you have to strike the right balance and ensure that you drink plenty of water.