Protein – What’s it all about?
Because let’s face it, how much we need to maintain a healthy balanced diet and why we need it can be a minefield with even the experts disagreeing.
So, let’s keep it simple . . . . . . According to the Institute of Medicine the average woman who is moderately active should be looking to consume around 46g of protein a day.
Is there such a thing as an average woman I hear you ask, well not really, we’re all unique and that’s what makes us so amazing but for the purpose of this blog the average woman is 5ft 4 inches, weighing in at 11 stone. The taller you are, heavier you are or more active you are, the more protein you’ll need.
Unlike carbs and fat our bodies are not set up to store protein so it has nothing to draw from when it’s running low, so its important to have a handle on how much protein you need and consume.
Hair and nails are mostly made of protein so if you’re not getting enough those luscious locks are going to suffer and nails will crack and chip.
Protein is essential for healthy muscle and tissue repair, not to mention necessary for strong bones, healthy cartilage, skin and blood. When proteins are digested they leave behind essential amino acids, which our bodies need to stay healthy. Protein contributes to maintaining a steady weight, prevents muscle loss and reduces the feeling of brain fog, that slightly fuzzy forgetfulness that stops us feeling on top of our game.
Studies suggest that adults over 40 can lose up to 8% of muscle mass every 10 years as we age and acquire bad lifestyle habits it’s even more important to stay active and mindful of a balanced diet.
So, how do these all-important 46 grams of protein for our average woman add up in her day-to-day life? It all depends what you generally eat really but it’s an idea to have a think about what you are in the habit of eating and do a quick tally up. For example, a large egg contains 7g. A 3.5oz grilled chicken breast is around 20g, a 100g piece of steak is 26g and 100g of almonds is 21g, but a medium size banana only gives you 1g.
Unless you’re tucking into a plateful of chicken, steak or a pile of nuts each day it can be difficult to keep on track and consume your daily requirement particularly if you are very physically active. Supplementation is a great way to make up the shortfall.
If you’re looking to supplement your diet there are still decisions that need to be made. Dairy derived protein whey or something plant based?
Choosing a milk whey isolate, the purest form of whey protein is generally easier to digest and gentler on the stomach. Although usually more palatable it would not be suitable if you are lactose intolerant or prefer not to include diary in your diet.
Plant based protein powders made from pea are becoming popular for its generous consistency of antioxidants while hemp gives us a dose of that all-important fibre. FitChick Vegan Protein is a lightweight blend of the two favouring the pea isolate, therefore getting the best of both worlds.
Smoothies continue to be a good way to tot up those grams and our protein powders are brilliant to cook with. One of our favourites is The Vegan Blueberry Protein Breakfast Muffins that contains a generous 120g of vegan protein powder per batch. The recipe can be found on our previous blog post.
So get blending and make Brain Fog a thing of the past . . . . .Well, most of the time anyway!