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Protein Power—Why protein and exercise go hand in hand.

Despite popular belief, the consumption of protein isn’t restricted to elite athletes and swollen body builders. Protein is part of a balanced diet for young and old, and if you’re engaging in regular exercise, you may need to up your quota. Read on to discover why protein plays such an important role in active bodies, and how you can add more into your daily diet.

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Why protein and exercise go hand in hand—Protein’s role in the body

Protein does so much more than just build muscle! It has a complex and varied role in the body, and is involved in a number of essential bodily functions—it plays an active part in our hormonal system, helps to control muscle contraction and relaxation, assists with stabilising our blood sugar, helps with our nerve transmissions, is involved in our immune response, is a valuable source of energy, and helps to repair and build muscle.

When we undertake strengthening exercise, we are actually creating tiny micro tears in our muscles. Once we have finished training, there is a special period known as the metabolic window, when our body has a greater ability to absorb nutrients. This is an ideal time to consume protein, so our bodies can repair and rebuild those micro tears and create stronger muscles most effectively.

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Protein consumption for our overall health can be at any time during the day, and is best done alongside a carbohydrate for maximum absorption. There are a number of natural sources of protein we can include in our diet—meat, seafood, dairy, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds are all rich protein sources—and so many creative ways to do so.

Why protein and exercise go hand in hand—How to ensure you’re getting enough protein

There are plenty of ways you can easily add more protein into your diet without having to undergo a complete overhaul. These are some of our favourites:

  • Re-think your snacks: don’t snack on calorie-laden, processed food. Instead opt for a protein-rich, low GI option like Greek yoghurt sprinkled with nuts, wholemeal bread with cottage cheese or carrot sticks with hummus.
  • Add some protein powder: there are lots of all-natural protein powders on the market that you can add to a variety of dishes, like your morning bowl of porridge, healthy pancakes, smoothies and shakes.
  • Don’t discount seafood: if you’re finding your dinners are getting a little repetitive, why not mix things up with protein-rich seafood?
  • Protein-packed carbs: incorporate quinoa, chickpeas or beans into lunches and dinners, which are full of protein and will keep your fuller for longer.
  • Consider soy: all natural soy products are packed with protein, so give tofu and soy milk a go.

How have you changed your diet to ensure you’re getting enough protein? Let us know if you have any tips and tricks which have worked for you.


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