The lowdown on pro­tein

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Janella Pur­cell

We’ve now (mostly) re­alised syn­thet­i­cally pro­duced pro­tein pow­ders are not a wise choice and those such as whey and soy based pow­ders, may be do­ing us more harm than good. Why? Be­sides be­ing al­ler­gens for some peo­ple, many are of­ten brim­ming with preser­va­tives, ge­net­i­cally mod­i­fied or­gan­isms (GMOs), as well as ar­ti­fi­cial ad­di­tives from flavours to sweet­en­ers.

When choos­ing a pro­tein pow­der, it’s im­por­tant to look for one with the least in­gre­di­ents and that is a whole­food – what the body rec­og­nizes and can use – as fuel.

Why do we ned pro­tein ?

Pro­tein is needed for growth and de­vel­op­ment. It is also used for en­ergy and to man­u­fac­ture hor­mones, an­ti­bod­ies, en­zymes and tis­sues. It helps to keep the acid­ity in our bod­ies in check by main­tain­ing a proper acid / al­ka­line bal­ance and keeps us full for longer than most other nu­tri­ents do.

A higher in­take of pro­tein-rich foods is needed in our younger years of rapid growth and also in our “win­ter years” as our mus­cles lose their elas­tic­ity and tone.

The av­er­age veg­e­tar­ian diet ful­fills the daily pro­tein rec­om­men­da­tions set by the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which is about 0.8 – 1.2 grams per kilo­gram of your body weight. How­ever, for those lead­ing busy life­styles, or per­haps aren’t sure where their pro­tein is com­ing from and if they’re get­ting enough, a whole­food pro­tein pow­der is then a good idea.

What is pro­tein?

Amino acids are the build­ing blocks that make up pro­teins, and “com­plete” pro­teins con­tain all of the es­sen­tial amino acids.

These pro­teins are or­ganic soy, yo­ghurt, eggs, milk, cheese, poul­try, meat and fish. In­com­plete pro­teins con­tain only some of the es­sen­tial amino acids – these are grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy green veg­eta­bles. If you com­bine, for ex­am­ple, beans with brown rice, nuts, seeds or corn you will have a com­plete pro­tein – and it doesn’t have to be in the same meal, but in the same day helps.

Too much an­i­mal pro­tein will put in­creased pres­sure on your body, es­pe­cially the or­gans that aid di­ges­tion, res­pi­ra­tion and cir­cu­la­tion and can con­trib­ute to cal­cium loss.

How much pro­tein do we need daily?

It does de­pend on your level of ac­tiv­ity, but on av­er­age for women – 46g daily and for men – 56g daily.

Spir­ulina has 68 grams of

pro­tein per 100 grams.

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