Proteins are key for our health, performance and recovery. They play many functions and are notably essentials for body structure and communication. Learn more on how to meet your daily protein needs in this post.
Proteins are made of amino acids mainly provided by our food. They can be found in both animal and plant products in very variable quantities. As they are essentials for many functions of our body, it is critical to consume them in sufficient quantities (and it might not be the case). Let’s further discuss two main needs.
1. More muscle mass
Muscles help us move. They also shape us and are a key player in energy expenditure both at rest and during effort. In brief, the less muscle we have, the higher chance we have to store fat.
Our protein needs will vary according to our (desired) lean body mass (bodyweight minus fat percentage) and our physical activity. In brief, our daily needs will vary from 1,1 (sedentary) to 2,86g (athlete) /kg lean body mass.
It might be challenging to eat the required amount. This can be achieved by equally distributing the total between all your meals, by possibly increasing the number of meals and by selecting high protein food products (eggs, chicken, fishes, protein powder, etc.).
2. Protein consumption and neuromodulation
Neuromediators such as dopamine, serotonin, (nor)adrenalin, etc. allow communication between neurons either for stimulation or inhibition. They are also responsible for our feelings (joy, fear, sadness, etc.).
Consuming enough proteins all over the day will therefore help for a happy mood and e.g. decrease food impulses. Interestingly, when we look for a mental energy boost, we usually go for sugar whether proteins should be a better fit.
Interestingly, tyrosine and tryptophan are 2 amino acids that are precursors respectively for dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine promotes pleasure, reward and motivation. Serotonin ensures the regulation of functions such as thermoregulation, eating and sexual behavior, sleep-wake cycle, pain, anxiety or motor control.
They both use the same transport system and what will favor one over the other is what we will eat with our proteins. If the meal is more fat-dominant, tyrosine transport will be favored and hence dopamine production. This is especially critical in the morning. On the contrary, if the meal is more carbs-dominant, tryptophan transport will then be preferred and hence serotonin production. Good therefore to eat proteins + carbs around 4PM to prepare a good night.
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