There is a lot of mis-information about protein, making it one of the most confused topics in the health industry.
Protein is a macro-nutrient, which means it is one of the three main essential nutrients required by the body to perform and function at an optimal level of health. Protein. Carbohydrates. Fats.
Protein is the building block to repair and nourish muscles and cells. The bodies protein is quite unique to your DNA. But, there are many other roles that protein fulfills beside building muscle. Protein regulates hormones and enzymes. Protein forms the structure of the immune system. Protein maintains the pH balance in the body, as well as maintain fluid electrolytes. Protein is essential.
Understand that the amount of any macro-nutrient, including protein, is specific to you, your body and your goals. If you are a weight-lifter, your goals will be very different to someone who wants to maintain their health, which will be different again for someone wanting to lose weight. So knowing what your goals are for your own health journey is important. It can be unreliable for you and your body to take on the recommendations for someone else, without knowing your starting point and your desired outcome.
Determining how much protein each person needs is a mathematical equation using your age, weight, height, gender and your level of activity. There are some good online tools to help calculate these numbers. There are also some good apps available that can calculate the amount of macro nutrients you may need per day to reach your goals. These might be worth considering, but also keep in mind that the figures are based on the recommended daily intake (RDI). The RDI may, or may not be adequate for your individual requirements and these are just a guideline.
It is also important to note that counting calories or macro nutrients can have a detrimental effect on mental health, creating the diet and restrictive eating mentality. Adapting to intuitive eating allows you to honour your body, eat balanced meals following the Mediterranean lifestyle, eat when you are hungry, feel satisfied with meals, and take in adequate exercise.
However, there are some simple things you can look for within your own body to know whether or not you are receiving the appropriate amounts of protein for your shape and size.
- If you are working out regularly, using a combination of cardio, resistance and strength training, yet not seeing any results, it is possible you are not obtaining enough protein. Common symptoms for not consuming enough protein include nausea, fatigue, low blood pressure and food cravings.
- If you are experiencing bloating and or gas, this can be the result of too much protein. Other symptoms that could indicate too much protein include headaches, dehydration or weight gain. Too much protein can also cause added stress to the kidneys.
Remember, we are all unique and the way we process protein may be different to someone else. Always seek advice from your medical practitioner or Naturopath.
Choose wisely. Live vibrantly.
Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash