Looking at nutrition labels, you may always see protein, but you may not have a good idea of the role that it actually plays in food as well as in your body. There are plenty of reasons out there that may convince you to start paying attention to how much protein you're consuming. According to the Institute of Medicine, adults should get a minimum of .8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day – that adds up to about 58 grams for a 160-pound adults. The amount your body needs truly depends on factors like sex, age, height and weight. Here are just some amazing things that protein can do for your body:
Maintain a healthier weight
Exercise and staying away from fatty foods can only do so much when it comes to maintaining a desirable body weight. Protein is really what helps to keep your weight down. In fact, starting off the day with a protein-packed breakfast like eggs, lean beef or a smoothie can help you keep the weight off. Many are under the assumption that consuming foods high in protein will only lead to too many calories consumed, causing the body fat to increase. But when eating the best sources of protein, like lean fish, meat, dairy and beans, you'll feel fuller longer and be less likely to overeat later. Protein takes longer to leave your stomach, which causes the fullness. The moment you consume protein, your body gets to work on digesting, metabolizing and using the protein, which means you burn more calories processing them.
Start your morning off with a protein-packed smoothie. Add in your favorite fresh fruits and a few scoops of Naturade Total Soy for plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep going throughout the day. You could also add this protein powder to virtually any food, such as burgers, potatoes or muffins.
Promote heart health
Meatless sources of protein like nuts, legumes and soy foods have all been shown to lower cholesterol levels because of their combination of fiber and heart-healthy phytochemicals. Naturade Total Soy is a great source of protein that has been shown to reduce cholesterol in over 40 clinical studies. With a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you may reduce your risk for poor heart health. When choosing protein, opt for low-fat options like lean meats, skim milk or other foods with high levels of protein.
Whether you're an athlete looking to bulk up or simply wish to look a bit more toned, protein is what's going to help you reach your goals. Protein is made up of amino acids, which are used by the body to build new muscle. If you don't consume enough protein in your diet, your muscles can repair and continue to build and your body will begin to break down the muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn and the less fat you'll see on your body. After an intense workout, grab a meal replacement shake to help your muscles to grow.
Making the transition to a vegetarian diet takes the right attitude and the know-how to live healthy without consuming any animal protein. Research has shown that plant-based and vegetarian diets are associated with better health, but in order to receive these health benefits, you have to know how to go about becoming a vegetarian and following a meal plan that is both delicious and right for your body. Here are some of the most common pitfalls to which first-time vegetarians often fall prey:
Not eating enough calories
Just because a vegetarian diet requires that you avoid animal protein doesn't mean that you have to cut out a large amount of calories. The right amount of calories are appropriate for giving your body the fuel it needs to get through the day. If you don't have enough energy from calories, your metabolism could slow and you could experience low blood sugar.
You're going to have to find the adequate amount of calories from foods besides meat, like nuts, seeds, dried fruit and cheese – all of which are filled with calories that won't weigh you down later. Top off your salad with nuts of your choice or bring some dried fruit to work to snack on in between meetings.
Skipping out on protein
Much of the protein in a diet can come from animal meat. However, there are plenty of other ways to get the amount of protein that your body needs. Protein is vital to the body and helps you to maintain a healthy weight. The recommended protein intake per day is about 50 to 175 grams, depending on your sex, height and and body weight. Without this protein, you could experience low energy, loss of muscle, a weakened immune system and poor vision. Meet your protein needs by whipping up a shake or a smoothie using Naturade Pea Protein. This protein powder is free of soy, dairy, gluten and cholesterol and is derived from yellow peas that are easy to digest and hypoallergenic.
Other sources of protein could include beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, tofu, hemp, eggs, Greek yogurt and avocados.
Minerals like zinc, calcium and iron are essential to keeping high blood pressure levels at bay, maintaining healthy joints and keeping up your energy levels. Look for breakfast cereals that are rich in iron and snack on veggies containing the mineral, like soybeans, potatoes, beets and artichokes. A glass of orange juice in the morning will help to absorb the iron from plant foods.
Whether you're trying to gain muscle or lose weight, along the way you may have discovered that there are various types of protein out there. Whey protein and pea protein are two that are quite common. However, the difference between the two is crucial. Let's take a look at each type of protein and what it does for the body:
Whey protein is one of the two major groups of proteins found in milk. Only 20 percent of milk's protein is whey. The rest is casein, which is the protein that triggers most milk allergies. This is why whey protein would be a way for people with allergies to get dairy protein into their diets. It's typically sold in powder form, as either whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate and is a popular supplement for athletes and fitness fanatics.
Whey protein essentially helps your cells to grow, replace and repair themselves. The body naturally produces proteins on its own, however, other amino acids must come from dairy protein. Whey protein provides all nine amino acids and is easy to digest. Most whey protein is low-fat or fat-free, and the amount of protein you need varies based on body type and nutritional needs.
What is it best used for?
The uses for whey protein can vary greatly. Whey protein is commonly used among athletes for improving muscle strength and body composition. One of the reasons that whey protein stands above all others when it comes to bulking up is due to one ingredient: Leucine. Leucine is an amino acid that must be obtained through foods and plays a significant role in the maintenance and repair of muscles. According to the Journal of Nutrition, leucine can stimulate muscle protein synthesis – which is the process by which individual cells build specific proteins.
How do I get it in my diet?
Protein powders are an easy and delicious way of getting more whey protein into your diet. Naturade 100% Whey comes in both chocolate and vanilla flavors and is a great way to finish off your workout to build muscle. This protein powder is an excellent source of bodybuilding branch chain amino acids and active peptides, or protein fractions.
Pea protein is a natural plant-based protein that is derived from yellow peas, also known as split peas. This protein is highly soluble and easy to digest. This is a perfect protein for vegetarians and vegans who can't get their protein from animal products. It has the ability to supply the nine essential amino acids that cannot be naturally produced by the human body.
What is it best used for?
Pea protein can be used for a variety of reasons including muscle growth, weight loss, and for those who are vegetarians or vegans and are looking for a way to get more protein into their diets. Scoop some pea protein powder into a post-workout smoothie to build muscle, use it as a meal replacement if you're looking for some extra protein or are wanting to shed those pounds.
How do I get it in my diet?
Pea protein powder can be incorporated into your diet through a tasty shake. Naturade Pea Protein is a great-tasting shake that is all-natural and contains no animal by-products, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or colors. You can use it for a meal replacement or a post-workout smoothie.
There is a lot of mystery and confusion surrounding the vegan diet. Different from a vegetarian diet, a vegan diet includes only plant-based foods. This means vegans stay away from meat, eggs, dairy or animal-based foods of any kind. At first glance, it seems that this lifestyle doesn't leave you with many options of what to eat. However, a vegan diet can be among the most healthful ways to eat. You can still choose from vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds. These foods still offer plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and healthy oils. Even celebrities and famous inventors like Alicia Silverstone, Ellen Degeneres, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Ford, Paul McCartney and Sinead O'Connor were and are vegans. According to a report by the Vegetarian Times, three percent of American adults, roughly 7.3 million people, follow a vegetarian diet, and one million of them are vegans. If you're considering going vegan, here are a few benefits that may push you to take the leap:
It's better for the environment
Because you're eating plant-based foods rather than animal products, there is far less pollution produced. Rather than feeding plants to the animals and then eating the animals, growing and eating plants straight from the ground makes much more efficient use of land and water.
Many decide to go vegan to save animals from being killed, or to protest currently less-than-ethical animal treatment at mainstream farms and feedlots. Eating less meat means that fewer animals are subjected to harsh treatment, and that unethically operated food production companies see a reduced profit.
Instead of getting protein from animal meat, whip up a tasty shake containing pea protein powder. Naturade Pea Protein is 100 percent soy and dairy free, gluten free and cholesterol free. Made from a natural plant-based protein derived from yellow peas, this product is perfect for any vegan diet. Add a few scoops of chocolate or vanilla protein powder for a quick snack or a meal on the go.
Many of the foods that vegans eat are low in calories, salt, sugar and harmful fats – all which can be detrimental to a person's health when consumed in large amounts. Not all fats are created equal: unsaturated – especially monounsaturated – fats help raise "good" LDL cholesterol, while saturated fats raise "bad" HDL cholesterol. Saturated fats can be found in certain plant-based foods, but the majority of saturated fats consumed by Americans come from either animal fats or highly processed corn oils. Eating animal fats and proteins has been shown to increase a person's risk of developing poor health. By eliminating the saturated fats found in dairy products and meat, a vegan diet may lower cholesterol and cardiovascular health may be improved.
Because vegans don't eat meat, many tend to maintain a healthier weight. Researchers attribute this to a lower calorie intake. Vegetables and fruits are much lower in calories than meats, and provide beneficial nutrients in an undiluted form. The high fiber in a vegan diet also helps to curb hunger.
Everyone could always use a little kick of energy in their lives, especially during the hectic days. Going vegan can contribute to higher energy level. Both NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez and former U.S. president Bill Clinton have attributed their vegan diets to their newly found energy.
Sometimes, just working out alone is not enough to get you where you want to be in terms of muscle growth. You may be burning the calories, but you also need to make sure that your muscles are growing properly in order to see results – and this often requires the help of protein. Many fitness fanatics are turning to whey protein to take their workouts to the next level.
The benefits of whey protein
Whey protein, a high quality dairy protein, contains all of the amino acids that the body needs for muscle protein synthesis – the process by which individual cells construct proteins. Amino acids are known to stimulate protein synthesis and result in a positive net muscle protein balance. A study was done where 36 healthy and fit males were randomly placed into one of three groups: Whey protein and creatine, whey protein, and carbohydrate placebo during six weeks of resistance training. Those who received the whey protein, with or without the creatine, saw greater increases in muscle mass than those who only took the carbohydrate placebo.
Overall, evidence has suggested that whey protein, when combined with resistance exercise, can improve body composition. Your workout isn't finished until you pair it with a delicious vanilla or chocolate shake containing whey protein. Naturade 100% Whey protein powder supplies all of the essential amino acids and works to boost performance and energy. The leucine, isoleucine and valine in this protein meal are vital for tissue growth.
When trying to build muscle, it's important to combine your consumption of whey protein with healthy resistance training. Here are some strength training moves to pair with your whey protein to achieve the best results:
One-arm pull down
This exercise works both your back and biceps. Find a medium to heavy resistance tubing equipped with a handle on the end. Attach the end of the tubing to a door hinge above your head, stand in a semi-lunge position and pull the handle of the tubing straight down with one arm; pause and slowly return to a standing position. Complete about 12 to 15 repetitions on each side.
Find a comfortable surface, like a rubber mat or grass field, and stand with your feet hip-width apart. While keeping your back straight and looking straight ahead, lower yourself toward the ground until you find your heels lifting off the floor. Jump up quickly, fully extending your legs, and land softly on the ground. During this exercise that works your legs, core and butt, making sure to keep those abs contracted for the best results. Do about 10 to 15 reps.
For this power exercise, you'll need an inflatable fitness ball. Your core, chest, shoulders and abs will be getting the best workout from this movement. What you need to do is kneel in front of the ball and roll out over top of it, walking your hands out until you're in a push-up position. Be sure to keep your body flat and your abs engaged. Proceed by lifting your hips up to the ceiling, rolling your feet onto the top of the ball. Your legs must be kept straight. Do 10 to 15 reps.
Amid all of the things we hear about weight loss, it's hard to determine what actually works and what's better left ignored. Some say a mixture of cardiovascular exercise and strength training, while other say that weight loss starts in the kitchen. Others choose the diet route to shed the pounds, which can sometimes leave you with results that are subpar. Experts are now finding that there is something that actually may make a difference in creating a slimmer waist: Soy protein.
What is soy protein?
Soy protein is derived from soybeans and is considered a complete protein which contains all the essential amino acids the body needs. Soy is packed with both arginine and glutamine. Arginine helps promote muscle growth while glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. Sometimes extreme stress and intense exercise like marathons can deplete the body's levels of glutamine – stored in muscles. This amino acid can help your immune system function and appears to be necessary for normal brain function and digestion.
Soy and weight loss
According to a new University of Illinois study, as intake of soy increases, weight tends to decrease. The study found that soy had a significant impact on the body by boosting metabolism. Researchers were surprised to find that soy did have an effect on regulatory hormones and their receptors that signal to the brain that the body is full, but the soy didn't work by reducing food intake.
The effects of soy protein on weight loss were also studied on obese subjects that were given a soy protein-based low calorie meal replacement beverage instead of a milk-based equivalent. Researchers found that a low calorie diet with soy protein-based foods vs. a diet with animal protein-based foods was more effective when it came to weight loss, lowering blood lipids and keeping the weight off.
How to get soy protein
You can easily incorporate soy protein powder into your daily diet through a meal replacement powder. If you have a sweet tooth, start your morning off with a vanilla or chocolate shake using Naturade Total Soy. This is a quick solution to help you reach your weight loss goals without compromising taste or nutrition. With 13 grams of soy protein and 24 vitamins and minerals, this delicious snack may help you on your way to weight loss.
However, there are more ways to get your soy protein than through a sweet shake. Protein powders can be added to almost any meal to give it a boost. Bake a few scoops into your favorite morning muffin or oatmeal. For lunch, whip up a bowl of protein-packed mashed potatoes and for dinner, mix some protein powder into your ground beef for a beastly burger. Once dessert rolls around, consider delicious options like vanilla protein cheesecake, rice krispie treats or a vanilla protein cake.
Other benefits of soy protein
According to the Journal of Perinatal Education, soy protein also offers many other ingredients that impact heart health. The journal reported that consumption of soy protein has been found to reduce serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides. Those with elevated cholesterol seem to receive the greatest benefit.
Vegetarians and vegans can also benefit from soy because it gives them an alternative way to obtain essential vitamins without eating any animal products or byproducts.
Smoothies full of fruits, veggies and protein powder can pack a punch and provide your body with essential vitamins, nutrients and protein that you may not be getting in your daily diet. Smoothies can even serve as a meal replacement that doesn't skimp on taste and still fills you up so you can reach your weight loss goals. Start off your day with a smoothie in the morning, or use it as a snack in the middle of the day. Either way, if you're using the right ingredients, you'll never get bored with the taste and you certainly won't get bored with the results! Here's how to make a delicious tasting smoothie:
Not only does fruit equip the body with antioxidants, it keeps the immune system healthy and adds extraordinary flavor to your smoothie. Choose at least two of your favorite fruits, like bananas, berries, pears, apples, watermelon, peaches, kiwis or pineapple. They can be fresh or frozen – either way, you'll be getting the nutrients and a great taste. If you want to make your smoothie even more healthy, opt to add in some leafy greens (we promise you won't taste them) like kale, spinach or arugula.
Give it a boost of protein
Protein powders are a great way to promote muscle growth and can even assist in weight loss. Naturade Total Soy comes in both chocolate and vanilla flavors, and is low on sugar and calories but high on dietary fiber and taste! Soy protein may even help to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. Other protein boosters that can be used to make a delicious smoothie include:
Thicken it up
One of the key elements of a great-tasting smoothie is consistency. You don't want it to be too watered down, but make it too thick and it won't taste much like a smoothie anymore. Add some extra ingredients can help get it to that perfect consistency while still adding more nutrients. If you need to thicken it up, add some Greek yogurt for that creamy texture and a boost of probiotics. If it needs to be thinned out a bit, pop in a few ice cubes for a chilled treat.
Provide a touch of flavor
For the final finishing touch, add a bit of flavor to your meal or snack. They can often be enhanced by adding a bit of honey, maple syrup, dates, vanilla extract, mint or cinnamon. These add a a burst of flavor to your smoothie without giving you all those unneeded extra calories. Cinnamon is also especially good for your health, as it lowers cholesterol, reduces blood sugar levels and boosts cognitive function and memory, according to Organic Authority.
Now all that's left to do is enjoy!
Many people are looking to fit more protein into their diet, whether it's to bulk up, build lean muscle or to simply gain a bit of weight. The most common way of consuming that protein powder is through a meal replacement shake. While these are often delicious and certainly do the trick, this powder is very versatile and can be used in a number of your favorite recipes for breakfast or dinner. Livestrong suggested some great recipes you can use to help you get the protein you need at any time of day.
Eggs are already filled with protein, but adding some protein powder can help give them even more of a punch. Using six eggs, 1/4 cup of 2 percent milk and a half scoop of your favorite protein powder like Naturade VEG – Natural or Naturade 100% Whey, you can whip up a breakfast of champions. Top your eggs off with salt and pepper or a bit of cheese for extra flavor and enjoy!
If you're more of a pancake person when it comes to breakfast, you're in luck. Adding protein to your favorite morning meal is super easy. All you have to do is combine one scoop of the protein powder of your choice with water until it matches the consistency of your pancake batter. Combine and cook one to two minutes on each side. It doesn't get easier than that.
Enjoy a large bowl of fluffy mashed potatoes while getting your protein fix at the same time. Place one pound of red skinned potatoes in a pot, cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. Drain the water and add 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup milk and one scoop flavorless or vanilla protein powder and mix thoroughly. If you like sour cream on your potatoes, swap it out for Greek yogurt to significantly cut your calorie count (and add protein!) while still providing that cool and creamy taste.
Filling up on whole fruits is a great way to keep you full in between meals and provides you with lots of nutrients your body needs. But we often don't reach for an apple when we need to fill up on protein. Now, you can! Slice your favorite apples up and place them into a large, sealable plastic bag with one tablespoon of cinnamon and one scoop of Naturade Total Soy French Vanilla. Shake all the ingredients up, place into a bowl and enjoy!
Yes, one of America's favorite foods, the burger, can easily have protein powder added to it. Mix 4 ounces of ground beef with one-fourth of a scoop of flavorless or vanilla protein powder and form into patties. Cook for four to five minutes on each side and you have some delicious burgers ready to go! For an even healthier creation, add some low-fat cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and onions.
Who doesn't love rice krispies? Now you can enjoy them even more knowing that they're giving your body the nutrients it needs to recover from a workout. Preheat your oven to 325 F and mix 1 and 1/2 cups Rice Krispies cereal, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons honey, two tablespoons reduced fat butter, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and two scoops Naturade Total Soy French Vanilla into a large bowl. Pour into the pan and let it bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Who knew gaining muscle could be so tasty?
Being pregnant, there are a lot of things to think about when it comes to keeping both your body and the baby healthy. Along with prenatal vitamins, regular exercise, adequate sleep and maintaining a balanced diet, ensuring that you eat the right amount of protein is vitally important. Among all of the nutritional advice being tossed your way, it can be easy to forget about protein and its role in developing your child.
Vital to growth
Not only does protein help you to grow, it is essential for the growth of your baby as well. According to What To Expect, at 37 weeks, your baby's brain is in need of materials that are going to help it grow and develop. Protein is what's going to build the brain and help it grow to be healthy and fully functional. Should you not get the recommended amount of protein in your diet, the baby will begin to break down its own tissues in order to get building blocks, preventing the both of you from staying healthy.
Natural Baby Pros said that a woman's blood volume increases dramatically during pregnancy. Protein is what helps to produce the right amount of blood cells and aids the body in producing iron – a vital nutrient needed during pregnancy that helps you maintain a healthy immune system. Women often need more iron than usual when they're with child because they're eating for two.
How much protein do I need?
What To Expect suggested you consume three servings of protein (about 75 grams) everyday to help eliminate problems during the pregnancy. It's important to make a habit out of incorporating protein into your everyday diet. By eating the right foods, this can be made easy.
How do I get protein?
We all know that lean meats, poultry and fish are excellent sources of protein. However, Dr. Tom Brewer, creator of the Brewer Blue Ribbon Baby Diet, recommended getting this much protein by building your day around four cups of milk and two eggs. Not only are these ingredients versatile, but they're often inexpensive and will provide you with at least 32 grams of protein each day. And don't think eggs can only be scrambled. There are plenty of other ways to get this protein-packed staple into your diet. Try making a breakfast sandwich, French toast, stir-fry or some egg frittatas. Another easy way to up your protein intake is by consuming a protein meal.
One source of protein that many pregnant women rely on is fish because it's heart healthy, loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of DHA, which feeds your baby's brain. However, it's important to keep a good eye on what type of fish you're eating. According to What To Expect, some fish contain high levels of mercury, an unfriendly toxin. Play it safe by avoiding fish from contaminated waters such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, fresh tuna, sea bass, tilefish, mahimahi, grouper and amberjack. On the other hand, fish like salmon, halibut, trout, cod and perch are safe options. You should also look to limit your fish intake to about 12 ounces per week.
Protein is essential in a diet due to its ability to repair and maintain the body. According to MedlinePlus, protein is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs and glands. Everyone needs protein to help repair body cells and make new ones. It's also integral to growth and development throughout childhood, adolescence and pregnancy. Many, however, have made the life choice to live by a vegetarian diet. Although this means one of the most protein-packed foods, meat, is out of the picture, it doesn't mean there aren't other delicious and viable options to choose from.
How much protein do vegetarians require?
Many people are under the assumption that we need mass amounts of protein in our diets. While it is essential for our bodies, we do not require large quantities of protein. According to The Vegetarian Resource Group, only one calorie out of every ten needs to come from protein. The amount that you require is largely based on height, weight, age, physical activity level and body type. Look to your general health to determine if your body needs more protein or not. Make sure your hair and nails are growing properly, your wounds are healing well and you recover fairly quickly from routine illness.
Protein-packed foods for a vegetarian diet
Vegetarians can meet their protein needs simply by including the right foods into their diet. The Vegetarian Resource Group created a sample menu to demonstrate how easy incorporating protein really is. For breakfast, they recommended oatmeal, soy milk and a bagel. For lunch, two slices of whole wheat bread and some vegetarian baked beans. A snack could include crackers and peanut butter, and for dinner, try brown rice, broccoli and tofu.
When you're getting a wide variety of foods, you'll be getting all the amino acids you may need to keep your body strong and promote cell repair. Here are a few other foods that provide a good dose of protein:
The nuts with the highest source of protein include peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews and pine nuts. They are also packed with heart-healthy fatty acids and antioxidants. While these work well as a snack, they can also be easily incorporated into meals. You can add your favorite nuts to a salad, sandwich, wrap or even baked goods.
Pea protein powder
A protein booster, like Naturade Pea Protein, is a fast, easy and delicious way to get a dose of essential protein. Pea protein is a natural plant-based protein that is derived from yellow peas and is soluble, easy to digest and tastes great! Available in both chocolate and vanilla, this tasty shake is all-natural and contains no animal by-products, artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. It's an excellent source of protein for both vegetarians and vegans.
Whole grain carbohydrates are very high in protein and are essential for the growth of muscle. Quinoa is a protein-packed South American grain that has come into style in recent years as more and more individuals adopt veggie-based lifestyles. Quinoa can be cooked together with honey, berries and nuts for a healthy and balanced breakfast.