Any substance which gives nourishment to human body can be defined as food. Nature has provided us with various food options which have different nutritional profile. According to the nutrients they provide foods are mainly classified as energy giving, body building and protective foods. Amongst all, the body building foods or the protein rich foods have always intrigued us because of their functions, properties and usages. The word protein comes from a Greek word “Proteios” which means primary. Proteins are thus named as they are of prime importance in the structure and function of all living cells.
A specific protein in the body serves a specific function for the maintenance of life. But the most important function played by proteins in our body is that of building our infrastructure, the cells. Body Building Function is the primary function of proteins i.e. tissue growth and maintenance. Proteins are present in all parts of our body be it muscles, bones, skin, blood, hair or other organs. Thus to form or build a new cell in the body proteins are required.
The quantity of protein which needs to be included by a person in the daily diet depends on lots of factors like age, physical activity, physiological condition, etc. Children, adolescents need extra protein by virtue of their growth. A person who wants to build muscles or who works out daily for a minimum of 45 minutes daily needs extra protein intake. The minimum protein needed by this person is 1 g protein per kg body weight i.e. 65 g of protein is required for a 65 kg person. Foods like milk, milk products, egg, fish, chicken, pulses and legumes are the sources of protein. By including these foods in diet adequately protein requirement can be fulfilled. But those of you who work out and require extra protein; protein supplements might be needed because you might not be able to fulfill your protein requirement through diet alone. Protein supplements help in bridging that gap especially if you are a vegetarian by eating habits.
Protein supplements majorly include whey protein, casein, soy protein, egg protein to name a few. Of all these whey protein is one of the most prevalent protein supplements because of the ease in handling and the quality of protein it provides. Protein supplements are available in different forms like protein powders, shakes, capsules, bars which help in adding extra protein to the daily diet. Amongst all these forms of protein supplements, protein powders find maximum takers. These protein powders can be pure proteins or can be a combination of proteins with creatine, glutamine, BCAA, etc. Protein powders are available as tasteless powders and also available in various flavors. Flavorless protein powders can be mixed with a beverage of your choice and taken as a pre or post workout supplement. Various flavored protein powders can be blended in milk and water and a nutritious and delicious shake can be churned out.
Recent studies have indicated loads of benefits of taking protein supplements after doing physical activity. Whichever form of protein supplements you choose protein powders, shakes, bars or capsules; make sure that you include them in amounts neither excess nor deficient compared to the amount needed by your body. The protein content supplied by these protein supplements along with dietary protein should match the workout schedule. Because if protein is deficient in the body you will end up losing already existing muscles rather than gaining new ones.