In the world of health and fitness when you mention protein you think of building and repairing muscles.
I myself have a good source of protein in every meal and most snacks. From shakes or eggs in the morning to a bit of hummus in the evening, the proteins sources I consume not only help build and repair but they also keep me fuller for longer.
These are great reasons why all of us should be adding more protein into our daily diets but you could also start to see the benefits for your heart.
I read a recent article which suggested that eating foods high in proteins can be as good for your heart as quitting smoking!
The research was carried out by the University of East Anglia and was based on health data from 2,000 British women.
The researchers investigated what foods the women ate, focusing on seven different amino acids.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, these help strengthen the cells, tissues and muscles in our bodies.
Foods that are high in amino acids include meats, fish, beans, lentils, broccoli, and spinach.
The study found that those who consumed the highest amounts of amino acids had lower measures of blood pressure and arterial stiffness – major causes of heart attacks and strokes. These results are on similar scale to those expected for stopping smoking, reducing salt intake or increasing exercise.
They also found that different food source had different benefits. Amino acids from vegetables and pulses – such as beans, lentils, broccoli and spinach – were associated with lower blood pressure. Whereas amino acids from dairy, meat and fish were linked to lower levels of arterial stiffness.
It was suggested that beneficial daily amounts equate to a 75g portion of steak, a 100g salmon fillet or a 500ml glass of skimmed milk.
WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR PROTEIN INTAKE
If you are struggling to reach your daily intake of protein then here are a few points to consider.
• Be prepared – This seems to crop up in most of my articles and for good reason. You’ll find that protein sources don’t keep to long so preparing when and what you are going to eat daily will insure that you have enough protein in your diet. Also cooking in bulk and storing it for the next few days will also help you reach your targets.
• Cook fresh – Cook with fresh ingredients and try not to overcook as well. By carrying out these two simple tasks not only will you have good sources of protein but you will get the best nutritional value out of them as the food is fresh and cooked to perfection.
• Protein based meals – Centre your main meals around protein for example salmon with green veg and a SMALL portion of sweet potato on the side will help ensure that you are reaching your daily intake.
• Protein based snacks – It’s very easy to reach for a biscuit or slice of toast as a snack instead replace it with hummus and carrot sticks, high protein yoghurt or nuts and seeds to name a few.
• Keep it balanced – Increasing your daily intake of protein is great but please don’t neglect your other food sources. You will still need your carbohydrates and good sources of fat to help support and maintain a healthy body.