What is Protein?

If you're anything like me, you're following a lot of fitness accounts on Instagram. I love searching through accounts for new workouts and motivation for the upcoming day. One of my favorite pastimes is laying in bed with snacks, finding new foods and recipes to try. The world first discovered Halo Top Ice Cream on Instagram, did they not? They did. I did, anyway. It's sometimes difficult to distinguish which proteins to try and which to stay away from. Whenever I have a friend ask me for help, the first thing I ask them is "do you know why your body needs protein?" 


So, do you know why your body needs protein?

To start, a nutrient is any substance in food that provides energy to the body and helps to build or repair tissue. Nutrients are proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. 

Let's first focus on protein which can be found in every living cell in the body! Proteins help to break down food which is then used for energy, building structures (muscle) and breaking down toxins. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. 

There are twenty amino acids the body needs to function properly day in and day out. While the body needs all twenty of these amino acids, it isn't able to synthesize all of them on its on. Nine out of the twenty need to be gathered from the food we eat. These amino acids are classified by essential and nonessential. 

Essential aminos are the nine that your body cannot create. I remember this because they are essential to gather through food. Some of these fill non-protein-building roles such as forming neuotransmitters and hormones. The essential amino's are valine, isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, theroninet, tryptophan and histidine. Histidine is actually only necessary for infants.

Nonessential amino acids are ones that can be created by the body. They are arginine, gluatmine, tyrosine, cysteine, gycine, proline, serine, glutamic acid, alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid.

Protein is responsible for a lot of pretty big functions in the body. A big one is regulating that metabolism. For many, upping the amount of protein consumed in a day may be the key to weight loss and improved body composition. This is why you see those Instagram pages so full of protein shakes and pancakes! Other than a powder, where can you find it? Easy. Meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, soy, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, and whole grains. 

For athletes and active adults, protein is a huge key to reaching our fitness goals. When I started counting my macros and increased my protein intake, I saw results in as little as a month. If possible, I prefer my protein and other nutrients from food opposed to powder. In the middle of a work day a supplement such as a shake or a scoop of amino acids can be necessary to fuel my body. I don't complain, I do have some pretty tasty recipes. If I am going to use a protein shake my favorites are About Time chocolate vegan protein or GAT Supertein chocolate.(I obviously really love chocolate!) Amino acids are the perfect afternoon pick me up and I know my muscles are taken care of. They are especially necessary after an early morning workout followed by a long day at work. I love Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy and GAT Muscletini! 

It's important to focus on how we can nourish our muscles in order to support growth and dope summer bods. It's also important to focus on exactly what we are putting into our body when it comes to supplements. Any questions? Don't hesitate to reach out! 



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