Protein is the main nutrient responsible for building muscle, which is why it is such an important part of the diet of bodybuilding athletes. Its source can be nutritional supplements and dietary supplements, but it is worth using natural products that provide the required dose of protein micronutrients.
The role of protein in the human body is not only a building function, but also the regeneration of muscles, especially those depleted during intensive training. Protein is an excellent source of energy – according to research, 1 gram provides 4 calories, and amino acids, which are its component, can be found in all body fluids, including blood or intra-tissue fluid. The amino acids in protein improve immunity, remove toxins from the body, and are involved in all metabolic processes. Some types of proteins are made by the human body on its own, but most must be provided in food or dietary supplements. Most sources of protein have similar amounts of protein, so it’s a good idea to make sure your diet is varied – protein needs to be provided daily.
When looking for natural sources of protein, it is important to separate them into those of animal and plant origin. It is generally accepted that the most effective is animal protein, which is better absorbed by the human body. According to researchers, 40% of the total protein provided comes from plant protein. A high-protein diet contains mostly animal protein, and this is due to the fact that the essential amino acids responsible for its better absorption by the body are in greater quantity in protein of animal origin. However, this does not change the fact that the protein of plant origin has a level of absorption between 45 and 80%, so it can be just as effective as that contained in meat or dairy products. In a properly balanced diet focused on high levels of protein, amino acids from plant and animal products should be evenly distributed and provide a common source of protein assimilated by the body.
The essential amino acid content of animal protein is apparently higher than that of plant protein. EAA levels between specific products range from 30-40 in plant products to a maximum of 50-55 in animal products. The differences vary between a few percentage points, so the amount of animal protein in a bodybuilding diet should not be significantly different from plant-based protein.
Exogenous amino acids in animal products should primarily be sought in eggs, dairy, fish and lean meat. When constructing a high-protein diet, it is worth using fatty fish, such as salmon, which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acid, which affects heart and brain function and strengthens bones and joints. Keep in mind that the heat treatment of food can affect the protein content and its absorption by the body.
Plant-based products can be an alternative for bodybuilders looking to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet. They are also an ideal complement to protein in a meat diet, introducing diversity and providing nutrients essential for the proper functioning of the body. Due to the complex metabolic process, the human body is prepared to obtain all necessary amino acids from proteins of plant origin.
Natural sources of plant protein include dried fruits (prunes, apricots, raisins, dates), vegetables (broccoli, green beans, lentils, broad beans, green peas), nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios), buckwheat groats, rice, whole-grain pasta, buckwheat, legumes, sunflower seeds, soybeans, and hemp. Plant, synthetic or animal protein can be found in numerous dietary supplements and protein supplements. However, keep in mind that these types of substances are only meant to supplement the diet, not replace the daily protein requirements in the diet of a professional bodybuilder.
Featured Image: Freepik