Unpacking some necessary truths about protein, why its important
(not just for muscle strength & growth...) but for a plethora of health reasons, especially relating to hormone regulation in women.
Protein...what about it?
You would have heard somewhere down the track about how important protein is for our bodies, not only for men but also for women! Protein has a definite stereotype when it comes to increasing muscle growth alongside strength training, as it is the building block to building muscle. But protein is so much more than just being essential for muscle strength and growth, protein is an essential nutrient to support our overall health and longevity. In fact, many studies are now showing the importance of quality protein in women for hormone regulation, detoxifying excess hormones from the body, and regulating menstrual cycles and symptoms
Let’s briefly walk through Protein together …
The key roles protein plays in our body
- It is the building block to everything! Protein is comprised of amino acids which work to build and repair all cells, tissues, muscles, organs, hormones and enzymes in our bodies.
- Hormones! Hormones are synthesised from these amino acid building blocks. Protein consumption supports a balanced hormonal state.
- Supports weight management and satiety. Protein is a key to balancing blood sugars and satisfying hunger.
- Provides energy. When broken down protein is another source of energy.
- Supports immunity. Antibodies in our blood that fight of foreign bacteria’s are protein.
- Enzymes – which facilitate processes in our bodies such as digestion, metabolism and detoxification.
- Transportation of nutrients. They carry essential nutrients to our cells and tissues.
Quality sources of protein
- Beef (grass fed)
- Chicken (lilydale is a hormone free brand)
- Fish (wild caught where possible)
- Eggs (pasteurised)
- Tofu / Tempeh
- Quality diary such as Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese.
- Nuts & Seeds
- Whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice and so on.
- Quality protein powders with minimal added ingredients are also great to include (1 serving of protein powder per day).
Serving Suggestion: Including a palm sized portion of protein in each meal is recommended for your body’s requirements. Including protein in snacks will optimise blood sugar balance and help to reduce snacking habits.
Vegetarian/ Vegan/ Plant-based Protein Tips
It’s no secret that vegetarianism and veganism have taken over the last few years in particular, while some turn to this type of lifestyle for ethical, environmental or religious reasons, others are choosing this diet & lifestyle for the associated health benefits. However, for vegans and vegetarians to meet their daily nutritional requirements, they must prepare their diet reasonably and ensure their consumed diet is varied. Protein is commonly the nutrient that gets neglected in these diets, alongside the vitamins and minerals that assist with the absorption of protein into the body.
Important things to consider as a Vegetarian/ Vegan
Blood test check ups to ensure your iron levels are maintained.
Eat iron rich foods with a source of vitamin C, and away from caffeine as this will support absorption. Supplement if needed.
Combine Legumes & Whole Grains
Unfortunately not all plant-based sources of protein are “whole proteins” (meaning they contain all essential amino acids). Combining legumes and grains in a meal can complete this whole protein pictures.
For example: Lentil dahl served alongside brown rice is a complete protein meal.
Contain a higher content of protein! Grains such as quinoa and buckwheat are a complete protein. Plus you get added fibre benefits.
Avoid Fake Meats
Although this may seem like an easy protein choice, these processed products contain some questionable ingredients that our bodies do not recognise. In addition to excess sodium, vegetable oils, flavours, synthetic proteins, sugars and so on.
Daily Meal Ideas
- Eggs on Sourdough
- Protein Smoothie
- Bircher (Containing nuts, seeds & wholegrain cereals - bonus protein if tolerate greek yoghurt to soak)
- Roast Vegetable Frittata
- Lentil Dahl & Brown Rice
- Wild Caught Tuna & Veg
- Falafel Wraps
- Roasted Chickpea Buddha Bowls
- Atlantic Salmon with Asian Greens
- Beef Stir Fry
- Slow Cooked Stews
- Tofu Vietnamese Bowls