Posted by Dr. Scott Wilson | 15-08-2016
Building strength is one of the primary ways to improve health, function, and performance. But many people overlook the importance of strength exercises. As a result, they develop issues related to muscle imbalances, poor posture, and weakness. These issues lead to problems with chronic pain, fatigue, and a higher risk of injury. Knowing how to build strength through exercise and proper nutrition is the key to lasting health. The Roles of Protein in Health Protein is an essential component to many functions of the body. It supports the development of hormones and enzymes while helping to regulate the immune system. Protein allows your body to maintain the proper balance of fluids and repair tissues for healing and growth. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks for the tissues of the body. These include muscles, bones, hair, and even blood. Protein is present in both animal and plant foods, which provide you with a wide range of options in building strength by eating more protein. How Much Protein Do You Need? There are many factors that determine the amount of protein that each person needs to consume on a daily basis. An individual’s weight will dictate the amount of calories he or she needs. Total caloric intake must then be divided between the three macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Many health professionals suggest that protein should make up about 15% of a person’s total calories. Certain individuals may consume too little protein for their needs. People who are battling certain illnesses and elderly women are often observed as being protein deficient. You can also determine your target protein intake by taking your weight in pounds and multiplying it by 0.36 grams. Getting the Right Protein Complete proteins (those that contain all of the essential amino acids) are generally found in animal foods. These include meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and other animal products. Plant foods can also provide protein. But they don’t always contain all of the amino acids that are essential for health. As a result, they are considered “incomplete” proteins. But plant foods can be combined to provide a complete source of protein. Some high-quality plant sources of protein include lentils, quinoa, chia seeds, beans, tofu, and nuts. Understanding how to combine plant proteins is important for vegetarians and vegans who abstain from eating meat and other animal foods. Protein supports strength development by providing the nutrition needed to repair tissues. This is especially important when including resistance exercises in your program. Your physiotherapist can help you determine your protein needs to support your strength so that you can establish lasting health and wellness.