Proteins are often called the building blocks of the body consisting of combinations of structures called amino acids that help make muscle, bone, tendons, skin, hair, and other tissues. As an athlete, protein is crucial to your diet for many reasons. Amino acids help your body maintain its water balance, produce antibodies to help maintain health, aid in proper digestion, make and support hormones, repair and rebuild muscles after exercise, and so much more.
Sources of Protein
Proteins are easier to get in your diet than you’d think. Meats, milk products, and eggs are great sources of complete protein. A diet that is low in protein can, especially when you’re active, come with some symptoms such as:
- Muscle atrophy (loss of muscle)
- Swelling, bloating, and water retention
- Hormonal fluctuation
- Weakened immune system
When you’re active, especially as a martial arts practitioner, you likely eat more to fuel your extra energy expenditure. But with a balanced daily diet, you will typically get plenty of protein.
Non-Meat Protein Sources
Not all athletes are meat-eaters, which is fine. There are plenty of protein sources that do not come from meat. Plant-based athletes can get the protein they need from sources like lentils, quinoa, almonds, tofu, oats, and protein-rich fruits and vegetables.
Protein and Carbohydrates
Protein provides the same energy density as carbohydrates. However, the body does not store proteins in the same way it stores carbohydrates and fats. This means that you need to consume protein every day. The amount of protein each individual needs will vary, so it is important that you’re listening to your body and its needs.
If you’re interested to learn more about what you’re eating and how it benefits your body, with a little bit more research, you’ll discover a variety of food options and recipes. You might even find yourself trying a new protein source.
To learn more about what we have to offer at Rolles Gracie Academy, contact us today.