Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Protein: The MVP for Athletes

Written by University of Houston Dietetic Intern Amanda Gilles:

Protein is one of the Most Valuable Players on your nutrition team. You may be well aware that this nutrient is important, but just why is it so beneficial? Protein builds the framework for your body; including muscles, organs, bones and connective tissue, and as a hormone it helps to signal to our body when to use food as energy and when to store it as fat. Here are few more reasons to fill up on this valuable nutrient!
  •  It tastes good. Juicy Steaks, Creamy yogurt, smooth peanut butter, roasted pork, you get the picture! 
  • It burns calories even as you are indulging.  Your body has to work harder to break down protein compared to other nutrients. Compared to carbohydrates, your body works two times harder at breaking down protein. This extra effort results in more calories burned; the more protein you eat the more calories you burn digesting food!
  • It keeps you feeling satisfied!  Research has shown that if you eat a quality protein source at meals and snacks you will feel fuller faster, and for longer.
  •  It builds muscle and keeps your body burning fat all day long. Remember, more muscle burns more fat.  When you life weights, you create microscopic tears in your muscles. To repair these tears, protein is needed.  Protein “fixes” the torn muscle by building new muscle fibers; which make you stronger!
Here are a few protein rich foods to start incorporating into your diet today! 
·         3 eggs= 18 g protein
·         2 cups of 1% milk= 16 g protein
·         1 cup cottage cheese= 28 g protein
·         1 roast beef sandwich= 28 g protein
·         2 ½ oz peanuts= 16 g protein
·         4 oz chicken breast= 27 g protein
·         String cheese= 8 g protein
·         1 cup Greek Yogurt= 22 g protein

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