Protein as the basic building block is one of the most important nutrients necessary for life. It consists of various types of amino acids and depending on their type of protein we divide into: transport (hemoglobin, transferrin), building (structural: creatine, elastin, collagen), regulatory (hormonal regulation and the course of genetic processes), immunological and responsible for muscle movement and contractions, control of membrane permeability, production and transmission of nerve impulses, cell adhesion. These are just some of the functions of proteins. It is widely believed that proteins are intended only for physically active people, especially for those who want to build muscle tissue. However, this is a myth.
Why we need proteins?
Protein is needed for every person for the proper development and functioning of the whole organism. Thanks to it, faster regeneration and development of organ tissues is possible. The protein supplied to the body contributes to the proper functioning of enzymes and hormones. Children need protein for the proper growth process, the elderly need protein to maintain atrophy of muscular tissue, and physically active people to recover faster. Athletes need more protein because of the energy they need for muscle work. It is believed that an adult should consume 0.83g of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, children and teenagers depending on age from 0.83g to 1.31g of protein per kilogram of body weight, while very physically active people and athletes need from 1.5g up to 2.2g per kilogram of body weight.
Bar or coctail?
On the supplement market, we can find many products that will provide us with protein. The most popular of them are bars and cocktails, but we also find... ice cream. Why are bars and cocktails the most popular? Packed into a sports bag, a bar or a powder mixed with water in a shaker is definitely an easier way to quickly provide the body with protein, than long-lasting preparation of meat dishes in the kitchen. However, this does not mean that the only source of protein should be from supplements. However, when we feel like something sweet or we are hungry, and far away for dinner, instead of reaching for sweets, we can look for a protein bar without sucrose or prepare a cocktail sweetened with sucralose with an additional dose of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. It is worth paying attention to the presence of oligosaccharide (carbohydrate oligomers) in protein products, which support the multiplication of beneficial intestinal bacteria, thus preventing the development of pathogenic bacteria. This helps to reduce the risk of developing colon cancer.
Plant or animal protein
Opinions are divided, and scientists continue to study which of them is more valuable and suitable for both women and men ("The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant - versus Animal - Based Protein Consumption" JN The Journal of Nutrition). We have different preferences. Women are more likely to reach for plant-derived protein, because it is more easily absorbed, quickly provides the body with the necessary ingredients, is filling, it can be used to replace a meal. Men usually prefer specific portions of protein in the form of animal meat, which satisfies hunger for a long time and is a more valuable source of protein.
- We will find them in vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, legumes (the last three contain the most protein).
- This type of protein will be suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
- Natural protein powders of legumes ready to be made in fruit cocktails, sauces, soups and yoghurts are available on the market.
- It's also a great source of fiber.
- For example, soy protein contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 acids, B vitamins, lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), reduces the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, some cancers, including female genital and breast cancers, improves well-being and relieves menopausal symptoms.
- In terms of building materials, it is the most appreciated source of protein, mainly by men.
- Despite the advantages of providing the body with the largest amount of protein, vitamins and minerals, it also contains saturated fats that increase cholesterol and thus increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Animal proteins can be found in meat (beef, pork, and poultry), fish, seafood, eggs, yoghurts and cottage cheese.
- The best solution for men is to alternate consumption of animal and vegetable proteins so that their diet is properly balanced.
Soy protein for men
At one time, this topic aroused much controversy that the consumption of soy protein had a negative impact on male fertility and sexual health. Opinions are very divided, but it has been shown that soy protein could have a negative effect on the male body only by consuming forty times the amount of soy protein than the average person! This means that the negative effects of such a diet could be noticeable by consuming several dozen glasses of soy milk and at least a kilo of tofu regularly every day. Such a diet is rather unlikely, and as you know, it is good to keep moderation and common sense in everything.
Protein is necessary for the proper growth of children and the development of the body of adults, regardless of whether they are supporters of physical activity or resting on a comfortable sofa. In older people, it has a positive effect on maintaining muscle mass, which decreases with age, while in athletes it plays a large role in quickly regenerating strength and providing energy to build muscle mass. When buying protein cocktails, it is worth paying attention to the content of protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids, while with bars the content of sugars, which, despite the name "protein", may have a much greater amount (sucrose) than proteins (a good quality bar contains min. 23 g ). Let's remember about a varied diet, and our body will certainly thank us for that.