Why Do We Need It? Protein is necessary for the make up of our hair, skin, bones, muscles and other bodily parts. Proteins help with cell structure and are essential for rebuilding muscles. Every time we work out, muscle fibers tear and then need to rebuilt, or repaired. Torn muscles, in-turn, increase in size and/or increase in resistance. This can be applied to bodybuilders and endurance athletes alike; our muscles constantly need to be rebuilt. For any person, especially those who are active, proteins are key to a daily diet because it promotes not only healthy growth of muscles, but hair, skin, and nails too. How Much Do You Really Need? To put it simply: you don’t need as much protein as some health food companies want you to believe. After speaking with multiple physicians and professors of health science, the average seems to be about 50 grams of protein. Another option is to take the number of 40% of your weight (in pounds) and that is the number of grams of protein you should have. When you are active, like doing an hour or two of strenuous exercise on a regular basis, you could use a little more protein, but I would not go over 125% of the daily recommended value. When you have excess protein, like anything else consumed in excess, your body stores it as fat. So don’t overdo it, and you will be just fine and have shorter recovery times. Where Can You Get Protein? There are many foods that contain proteins:
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Edamame
  • rice
  • Protein Shakes
  • Peanut Butter
  • Dairy
There are many more, but those are all that I have in my diet. I tend to shy away from the meats, because I never really liked it in the first place, but that does not mean that it is not a viable source of protein. Some prefer the combination of rice and beans (which make a perfect protein.) My main source of protein is from eggs. I usually have an egg with most of my meals, provided the kitchen is clean and I have the time to cook. However, if I am running out the door for a class starting in fifteen minutes, I’ll have a protein shake with milk and/or a couple bananas to keep me satisfied until I can actually cook something. With protein shakes, I am usually hesitant with them. Some bad protein shakes have all the protein you need in a day (or more) in a single serving, have creatine or other ingredients that I am unsure about. So after doing some research and consulting a physiology professor at the university, I came to really like the Unicity brand protein shakes. The shakes taste great and they are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy diet. Also, I know one of the associates with Unicity personally and she uses the products herself as well as her colleagues. As for bananas, they are not high in protein, but they are great for endurance athletes. Some professional cyclists love bananas so much, that they make it their only intake of food. Although that may seem excessive, I would agree that bananas are great for a mainstay of your diet, especially for when you are active. A lot of the vitamins in bananas help prevent soreness, so you can be back doing fun things sooner and be happy doing it. When Should You Have Protein? Now some people may disagree with me on this, but just make it part of your daily diet. Don’t have your whole protein intake at once. Have some of your protein for breakfast, for lunch, in snacks, and for dinner; it is easier for your body to process ingested foods in increments. Plus having a small continuous flow of food keeps you energized equally throughout the day.   In short, we need protein, but not as much as you may think. There are so many different ways to get proteins in our system, just find a system that works for you. If you are feeling fatigued, try something different. If all else fails, ask a doctor or a specialist and they can help you with more ideas for healthy protein intake.   Comment below on how you get your protein intake to give others, who are somewhat new to the concept, an idea on what they can try themselves.