When talking about protein and its positive effects on the body, it’s not as straight forward as you may think. Protein is essentially a macro nutrient (the other 2 macro nutrients are carbohydrates and fats) essential for good health. You will notice many individuals taking on increased levels of protein after a workout through protein shakes, but whys that? Many gym goes drink protein shakes because their mate or peer do, not because they understand what nutritional effects they have on their body or it’s performance.
Now before we go any further lets dispose of the biggest myth regarding protein right at the beginning of this blog! I can guarantee that someone in your life has told you that you don’t want to much protein it will bulk you up… (Don’t have protein shakes come to mind) WRONG! Protein shakes and a high protein diets are traditionally linked to Body builders and physic models, hence where the myth develops from that protein builds you up. These types of athletes consume high levels of protein simply to protect their lean muscle and increase everyday bodily movements more effectively!
Protein is broken down into amino acids thorough the digestion processes that take place in the stomach. Amino acids are easier to digest and absorb into the body and used for building blocks and this process helps to speed up the metabolism.
There are 20 kinds of amino acids found in our bodies; these are known as essential and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids should be an essential part of your diet as they are not naturally produced by our bodies. Non-essential amino acids are naturally produced by our bodies, moreover meaning that you do not need to physically consume them. There are 8 different types of essential amino acids, essential amino acids play many different roles in your body including controlling insulin, and maintaining healthy hair, skin, and nails. They are the basic building blocks of the human body.
BCAA’s (branched chain amino acids) are a typical example of 3 of the essential amino acids they consist of Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. Leucine helps to increase blood, increase metabolism, and increase your body’s ability to rebuild and repair muscle tissue. Leucine can’t be absorbed by our bodies without the help of the other two amino acids Isoleucine and Valine. A combination of these three amino acids are absorbed directly into the muscle and converted to energy, which helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue.
The remaining essential amino acids are Histidine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, and Trytophan. It’s important to get all of these essential amino acids, as when one or more of these essential amino acids are missing, our bodies can’t produce the proteins required to conclude its daily jobs.
A deficiency in amino acids can lead to reduced energy levels and a decrease in metabolism rate, healthy skin and hair loss, digestive problems, sleeping disorders, stress, and poor health in general. Getting all the required essential amino acids also helps to control obesity and malnutrition, and furthermore aids to remove waste from the bloodstream.
Meat, eggs, and fish are all natural foods high in essential amino acids, but it can still be difficult to incorporate enough of these foods into a daily diet, especially for vegetarians and vegans. Supplements are another great way to get the required essential amino acids (however remember a supplement is what it is, a supplement is designed to supplement a healthy diet, don’t replace real nutrition with supplements). Ensure that any amino acid supplement you may consume is a high quality blend of essential amino acids. Supplements are normally in tablets from, providing a practical and convenient way to make sure your body receives the essential amino acids it needs in order to build proteins and regulate other bodily functions including the immune system function, restoring PH balance levels within the body and allowing structure and movement of the body, furthermore protein is vital in transporting nutrients around the body.
Your immune system relies heavily on high protein food, when your body is exposed to potentially harmful substances, such as bacteria or a virus, your immune system sends out proteins called antibodies. These antibodies seek out and attack the virus or bacteria in an attempt to neutralise it and prevent it from multiplying and causing illness.
I have spoken previously with regards to how important it is to keep your body’s PH levels balanced by eating all alkaline foods and drinking water. PH levels are vital to your bodily fluids such as blood and saliva, these body fluids function best at a neutral pH, or approximately 7.0. Acids are measured on the PH scale from 1.0 to 7.0 depending on how acidic a particular item is to your body.
Foods and drinks that you encounter daily, can change the pH of bodily fluids, a drastic and persistent change in the bodies PH levels can lead to chronic symptoms and various health problems. The proteins in your body act as a buffer that help keep your PH neutral. When the PH of your blood becomes too acidic, the protein buffers in the blood will pick up hydrogen ions until the PH returns to neutral. If the PH becomes too high, or basic, protein buffers release hydrogen ions to lower the PH.
Structure and Movement
There is protein in every single cell in your body, from your hair to your nails to your muscles and internal organs. These proteins are known as structural proteins; they quite literally provide the structure for your body. Without them, you could not walk, run or even stand. In fact, the most abundant protein in your body is collagen, which is present in skin, ligaments, tendons and bones.
Proteins also play a vital role in effective nutrient transport. They carry sodium and potassium into and out of cells in order to maintain the proper electrolyte balance. Proteins also carry vitamins, such as vitamin A, from your organs to your cells. A specific protein in your red blood cells, hemoglobin, is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your cells, all proving how essential protein is as a macro nutrient.
For more nutrition and personal training information call Ollie directly on 0161 399 00 77 to discuss your personal training needs.