Protein: An Essential Building Block for Muscles
There are two important factors that play a role in building muscle: an adequate amount of protein, and intensive strength training. To effectively increase how quickly your muscles grow, you need to make sure each of these factors have a role in your life. Today we're going to take a closer look at proteins.
Why is protein so important?
Muscles are made mostly of different types of proteins. The protein filaments actin and myosin work with the tropomyosin and troponin proteins to ensure that our muscles contract properly. Additionally, the largest protein molecule found in the human body (titin) is a muscle protein. It is responsible for correctly arranging myosin and actin in fibres of the muscles. There are many other protein-containing components in our muscles but this gives you an idea of how important protein is for muscle development. Our muscles can't grow without enough protein.
What types of protein are there?
Each protein is made up of different lengths of amino acid chains. In order for our body to be able to produce its own protein from the protein that we ingest through our food, it needs a total of 20 different amino acids.
These amino acids can are made up of essential and non-essential amino acids. Our body can produce non-essential amino acids from other components and also recycle them because they are released when proteins are broken down. When we eat a balanced diet our body has everything it needs to make them. Essential amino acids are different. Our bodies can't produce them on their own but need to acquire them through the food we eat.
A constant cycle
Our body is constantly changing, even if we don't realise it. Muscle proteins are built up and broken down continuously. If you want to build muscle mass, you have to make sure that the rate of buildup exceeds the rate of breakdown. You can do this by combining effective, intensive strength training with a varied, protein-rich diet.
A protein-rich diet
If you want to build muscle mass, you have to make sure that you're providing your body with all the building blocks it needs for muscle protein synthesis. High quality, natural sources of protein are best suited for this goal. In addition to classics like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, nuts, soy products and legumes also contain a lot of protein. Here is a short list of foods that are rich in protein (per 100 grams):
- Dried soybeans: 35 g
- Chicken breast: 31 g
- Salmon: 19.8 g
- Boiled eggs: 13 g
- Whole grain wheat: 11.7 g
As you can see, plant-based foods can also have lots of protein! This is great news for vegetarians and vegans. Just make sure you get enough protein per day to meet your goals.
Sometimes things just get hectic and we don't have time to cook proper meals. When this is the case you can also enjoy a yummy protein shake to balance out your protein needs
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