MACROS in Macronutrients: Understanding Protein
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT PROTEIN?
Protein is one of the three macromolecule classifications of food, the others being carbohydrates and fat. Protein in our body, breaks down into amino acids, which are the building blocks of our DNA, body repair from inflammation overnight while we sleep, muscle repair from working out, and hormones. Some of these building blocks/amino acids, are essential and we need to get them from food, so its important to make sure we eat an adequate amount of protein for our body’s demands.
Mental/life stress and physical/exercise stress, will put our body through different demand requirements.
Most foods provide protein:
1. Animal meat (eggs, fish, beef, lamb, chicken, pork, etc).
2. Dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt)
3. legumes (chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans (tofu/tempeh), etc).
4. Nuts (almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, etc).
5. Seeds (hemp seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc).
6. Grains (oats, rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, spelt, wheat)
7. Vegetables (Broccoli, peas, spinach, brussel sprouts, etc).
However, the amount of total protein, and the different amino acids provided, varies. A complete protein is one that gives us all 22 amino acids in a serving. Often legumes, vegetables, and grain protiens, need to be eaten together to make a complete protein.
Studies show that eating protein in even amounts throughout the day causes a 25% increase in muscle mass, vs. eating the majority of our protein at one meal (dinner anyone?) (2,3).
HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO I NEED?
For an adult who is sedentary, 0.8g/kg of body weight is required per day. For adults who do regular strength training and endurance activities, 1g/kg of body weight is generally required per day. But, if your body is under further stress and its affecting your hormones, mood or energy, you may need more. High intensity athletic training requires more protein in specific amounts. Speak to your healthcare provider to learn more about what your body’s demands and needs of protein, in grams/day, are. Protein should be sufficient but not excessive (as excessive may promote excess acidity), and a maximum can be absorbed in one sitting.
Protein Powder Suggestions:
- Whey Isolate, New Zealand (Allmax brand - Isolfex, OR, Cyto-matrix brand - Provitalex Pure Whey). Has the highest PDCAAS score, most protein bioavailability.
- Easiest to absorb but some can’t digest dairy well. Vegan, non-soy, non-whey:
- Sun warrior Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, organic - available in sampler packs, also uses oryatein silk protein (oryzatein is the raw material - it is a blend of the germ and husk to allow for a PDCAAS of 0.986, basically whey), as effective as whey in the PDCAAS score for bioavailability.
- Prairie Naturals, Raw Hemp OR Sprouted Brown Rice Protein, organic, also uses oryatein silk protein, as effective as whey in the PDCAAS score for bioavailability.
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts in a vitamix = 10g protein powder
- Hydrolyzed brown rice protein, Synerclear (Brand) - easy to digest and good for detox.
*Note: Dysglycemia can set in with certain protein powders, based on the body’s ability to digest them.
Smoothies with Protein:
- Instead of protein powder consider:
- 2 tbsp of chia seeds = 6 g protein (complete protein) combine with
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds = 3 g of protein (not complete)
- 3 tbsp of hemp hearts = 10 g/protein
OR = All together in a smoothie ~ 20 g protein.
Get your complete protein sources in to stay awake, stimulate your metabolism and body to build muscle mass.
- Dharam-Kaur, S., Danylak-Arhanic, M. & Dean, C. (2005) The Complete Natural Medicine Guide To Women’s Health. Toronto: Robert Rose.