Health

What is protein and why do you need it?

Women's Best Health Team

Protein powders, amino acids, protein shakes, and BCAAs can be confusing. What actually is protein? How much protein do you really need and how much of protein you should have per day to build muscles? When should you start your journey with proteins and when is the right time for which supplement? Is there any special diet you should follow? We’ve got all the answers to ALL your questions!

The questions, our Women’s Best Health Team gets asked most frequently are: How much protein do I need as a woman? When should I drink a protein shake and do I need the BCAAs?

Well, after reading this article you will be a protein-pro!

What is protein?

Proteins are made out of smaller molecules called amino acids, which are linked together like beads on a string. Some of these amino acids can be produced by the body, while we must get others from food. The ones we cannot produce and must get from our foods are called the “essential” amino acids.

Why do we need protein?

Proteins are the main building blocks of the body. They’re used to make muscles, bones, organs, hair, nails, and skin. Proteins are also used to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and various tiny molecules that serve important functions. Without protein, we wouldn´t be able to survive.

What kinds of proteins do we need?

The best sources of proteins are natural so from food like beef, chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, quinoa, soy and legumes like black beans and lentils. Animal-based proteins, of course, are much more like our proteins, thus are used more readily and rapidly than plant proteins. Nevertheless, plant-based diets also provide your body with adequate protein.

Why is protein important for building muscles?

Muscles are largely made of protein. As with most tissues in the body, muscles are dynamic and are constantly being broken down and rebuilt. To gain muscles, the body needs to get more muscle protein than it is breaking down. In other words, there needs to be a positive protein balance. For this reason, people who want more muscles will need to lift heavier weights and eat a greater amount of protein to support the muscle-building process.

Also, both women and men, who would like to keep muscles that they’ve already built may need to increase their protein intake when losing body fat, because a high protein intake can help prevent the muscle loss that usually occurs when dieting.

How much protein does a person need?

That depends on your weight, height and activity level. If you are working out regularly, the common recommendation for gaining muscle is 0,7-1 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight or 1,5-2 grams of protein per kg.

Numerous studies have tried to determine the optimal amount of protein for muscle gain and many of them have reached different conclusions.

Some studies show that over 0.8 grams of proteins per pound have no benefit, while others show that intakes slightly higher than 1 gram of protein per pound is the best.

If you’re carrying a lot of body fat, then it is a good idea to use either your lean mass or your goal weight, instead of total body weight, because it’s mostly your lean mass that determines the amount of protein you need

How much protein does an average person need?

If you don’t lift weights or do any exercise, then aiming for 0.36 to 0.6 grams per pound (or 0.8 to 1.3 gram per kg) is a reasonable estimate. This means that a woman needs 46-75 grams of proteins per day.

What are protein powders?

 

Protein powders are dietary supplements that contain a high percentage of protein. In our Women’s Best shop you can find many different protein powders, like Fit Pro Whey, Vegan Protein and Shape Body Shakes in various flavors (Vanilla, Chocolate, Salted Caramel or Strawberries, etc.). However, protein powders can be also derived from a variety of different food sources, including:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Chia
  • Whey/Milk
  • Pea
  • Hemp
  • Soy

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