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Protein is a vital ingredient for a healthy, balanced diet. Found in every cell in the body, it is important in the production of many of the chemicals the body needs to work properly and is used in the repair of damaged tissue. Protein is different from other macronutrients like fat and carbohydrates as the body does not keep a reserve of protein; this is why it is important to eat plenty of protein in your daily diet to ensure that the body has enough to be healthy.
Luckily, there lots of foods which are rich in protein to choose from. Meat is a good source of protein, particularly lean beef and pork and chicken and turkey breasts. There is also a good deal of protein in fish such as tuna, salmon, and halibut.
Quinoa may be one of the newest and trendiest superfoods, but it is also an excellent source of protein. In fact, quinoa is one of the few foods that contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body. It is extremely versatile — you can use it as a replacement for rice in a stir fry or add it to salads, or even eat it instead of your morning porridge for a high-protein breakfast alternative.
There are lots of dairy products that are high in protein, though many are also high in fat, so should be eaten in moderation or try and find low-fat alternatives. Eggs, milk, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are all excellent options for those looking to eat more protein, and most have a low-fat option that will help you get the maximum health benefits from your improved diet. If you have a sweet tooth, go for flavored Greek yogurt or add chocolate powder to a glass of milk.
If you are trying to eat a healthier diet, snacks can often be a problem. However, there are many high-protein options when it comes to snacking too. Peanut butter, as well as peanuts themselves, of course, is high in protein; peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are an easy way to ensure that your children are getting enough protein in their diets too. Nuts are a great source of protein, though they can often be high in fat too. They are very portable, though, and make a great snack to eat on the go.
Vegetarians and vegans can often find it difficult to get enough protein in their diets. However, green vegetables such as kale and beans are high in protein, as is non-dairy milk. Tofu, the staple diet of many vegetarians and vegans is rich in protein, and of course, quinoa is veggie-friendly too.
If you are concerned that you might not be getting enough protein in your diet, there are supplements you can take to help ensure you are eating a balanced diet. These are usually aimed at people who are looking to bulk up, but there are plenty of natural protein powders and bars on the market that can help anyone boost the amount of protein they eat. These protein supplements are usually made from whey protein, but soy proteins are used in some products.
They are particularly useful at the start of a new exercise program or when you’re recovering from an injury as additional protein can help to repair the damaged tissue. Some doctors recommend teenagers take additional protein in the form of shakes or bars, as this can help them stay healthy through growing spurts. Protein supplements are also popular with vegetarians and vegans, though they are particularly useful for those who have just started an alternative diet. Once you have gotten used to what foods you should eat for a healthy diet, most people can get all the protein they need from the food they eat.
Protein is not just essential for your general good health; a high protein low-carb diet can help you to lose weight. Choose your foods carefully from the protein-rich options, and you can use this beneficial nutrient to help you shed the pounds.
Everyone knows that it is important to have a balanced diet in order to stay healthy; and part of having a healthy diet is eating enough organic protein. Protein is a vital macronutrient which is used by the body in many different ways to support important functions. Without it, we would encounter serious health problems. Proteins are made up of different molecules called amino acids. These are classified as either essential (we need to obtain them from our diet) or non-essential (made by the body naturally).
There are different types of protein in the body, and all of them have specific bodily functions and processes which they support.
Protein forms an integral part of the body’s immune system in the form of antibodies. Antibodies are our defense systems, created in white blood cells and attacking any viruses, bacteria or other infections which are affecting our body’s normal functions.
These proteins support the structure of the body, keeping skin, tendons and muscles working properly. The most common fibrous proteins in the body are elastin, collagen and keratin. Elastin is the protein that keeps our skin healthy and firm, while allowing the necessary flexibility to move where required. As you get older, the amount of elastin in the body decreases which is why we get wrinkles. Collagen also helps keep our skin healthy, as well as being found in cartilage, tendons and muscles, while keratin is the protein found in our nails and hair.
As the name suggests, transporter are the types of the protein responsible for moving essential molecules and chemicals around the body. Hemoglobin and myoglobin are two examples of transporter proteins. Hemoglobin takes oxygen around the body from the lungs and myoglobin takes that oxygen and transfers it to the muscles, keeping cells healthy and working well.
Proteins in the Heart
The contractile proteins actin and myosin have a very specific and essential function in the body; they control the contractions of the heart muscles, which keep blood pumping around our bodies. Any problems with how the body synthesizes these types of protein can lead to serious heart complications.
Enzyme proteins are connected to the body’s metabolic system; everything from blood clotting to digesting food needs enzymes to work properly. They work by increasing the speed of chemical reactions, and there are lots of enzymes in the body working on different processes. In digestion alone, there are enzymes such as lipase which convert fats called lipids into glycerol and fatty acids the body can use for energy, amylase which turns starch into sugars and protease, which actually converts the proteins we eat into the essential amino acids we need for all the other bodily functions.
Not many people know that hormones are proteins too. Most people think of estrogen and testosterone when they think of hormones, which are vital to both male and female’s reproductive systems, but there are actually lots of different hormones in the body which have their own specific job. Hormones are secreted by the endocrine gland and are used to carry important signals to target cells to help them do their job; target cells in the body are designed to receive these messages and to act on them accordingly. Other examples of hormones include insulin which helps regulate the amount of sugar in your body.
Receptor proteins are actually very important for the work of hormones; it is these receptor proteins that allow cells to receive messages from hormones about what functions they should carry out. There are other types of protein that have a simpler function too, allowing cells to take in essential nutrients.
As the name suggests, these types of protein are important in the storage of essential nutrients and chemicals in the body for use at a later time. Examples include ferritin which helps control the amount of iron in your system and casein, found in breast milk, which is important for newborn babies, with regard to nutrition and the ability to fight off infection.
It is not always easy to find time for a fitness regimen, despite knowing the importance of taking regular exercise. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation too. However, if you find an activity that you enjoy then you are much more likely to stick to it; instead of treating exercise like a chore, explore all the fitness options out there and choose one that feels like fun.
Jogging is becoming increasingly popular, thanks to activities like Parkrun which organize weekly 5-km runs in communities all around the world. Parkrun is free, and you even get your run timed so you can work on improving your personal best. These groups have made what was previously a very solo sport a much more enjoyable and social experience. There are still lots of people who like to pound the pavements alone, or with music for company. The advantages of jogging over other sports or gym-based activities are that you only need a good set of running shoes to be able to take part. You can go running anytime you like, even outside normal gym opening hours, and you are in control of how far and fast you run.
Swimming is ideal for those who are recovering from injury, or who are perhaps getting back into an exercise regimen after a long time away. The water helps to support your body which reduces the risk of injury. As with jogging, swimming is quite a solo activity which will appeal more to some than others. Again, you can push yourself as much as you want — choose an easy stroke-like breaststroke if you’re a beginner and work up to faster strokes like front crawl or butterfly to really get the heart pumping!
If you are trying to get fit or lose weight, cardio-based activities in or out of the gym are a great way to start. You can improve your fitness by using cardio machines in the gym — exercise bikes, treadmills — or get out and try the real thing by cycling around where you live. Make sure you take safety precautions on a bicycle, especially if it’s been a few years since you rode one. Most gyms offer cardio classes too. If you like music, try some of the dance-based classes like Zumba or Bokwa. You may find that you have such a good time dancing to the music that you forget you’re exercising at all! Even if you are older than you used to be, there’s no excuse. Programs like old school new body offer plenty of options for any age group!
The other option at the gym is to use weight machines or free weights to help tone your body, and also to help lose weight. A combination of cardio and weights is the best way to improve fitness if you’re starting from scratch. However, it is important to use the right technique to avoid injury. Speak to staff at your local gym to find out how to safely use the weight machines or free weights before you start lifting.
If you’re competitive, you might prefer to try a team sport to help with your fitness. There are lots of local clubs playing team sports like soccer, football, tennis, and hockey, and most will be very happy to see beginners coming along to boost their numbers. Playing sports is a much more social way to get fit — although be careful that the socializing doesn’t undo all your hard work on the field! Playing sports can be expensive, as there is often a lot of equipment to buy; you can usually find places that will rent equipment if you are not sure whether a certain sport is for you and want to give it a try.
Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility, tone your body and to help yourself relax — all at the same time! It can be hard work at first to get the hang of some of the positions, but there are usually easier options for beginners and older people — don’t feel like you have to match the instructor’s pose completely. Most gyms offer yoga classes that are more fitness-based, or there are yoga studios which focus more on the holistic benefits of the positions and often include a meditation session to help work on your mind as well as your body.
There are many team members who create the Breathe Initiative, which also means that there are going to be a number of differing opinions in the way papers and articles are written and presented to the public. You will be seeing a variety of these opinions in the near future, so please stay tuned. Thank you.