It is quite an obvious fact that proteins are essential for health. They play a major role in many systems of the body, including muscle formation and development.
They also help in weight loss. For you to realize these benefits, you have to consume adequate protein.
Even more important is consuming slow digesting protein foods. Slow digesting proteins are those proteins that typically take a longer time to travel through the digestive system compared to other kinds.
Slow digesting protein foods release nutrients more slowly, which can give you a “full” feeling for a longer period of time.
WHAT ARE SLOW DIGESTING FOODS?
Slow digesting foods are foods with a low glycemic index which require more time to digest. The glycemic index is the system that is used to rate the duration of time foods take to digest. Slow digesting foods metabolize slowly hence leaving you feeling full for a longer time and warding off hunger.
WHAT IS THE SLOWEST DIGESTING PROTEIN?
Of all the slow digesting proteins, casein takes the lead. Casein protein, also known as the “slow” protein, forms curds once exposed to the acids present in your stomach.
These curds lengthen the digestion and absorption period. Casein protein is deemed the best protein to take before going to bed because your body does most of the recovering and repairing when you are asleep.
Moreover, it sustains the body while you are in a fasted state during the eight hours or so that you spend sleeping.
WHAT IS THE MOST DIGESTIBLE PROTEIN?
Also known as the “fast” protein, whey protein is the fastest digesting protein there is. It is ideal for those times you need protein to be digested and absorbed by your body as quickly as possible such as before, during and after working out when you want to provide your body with proteins for repairing muscles.
HOW CAN YOU ABSORB PROTEIN BETTER?
There are a number of ways through which you can improve protein absorption in your body including;
NATURALLY, BOOST THE PRODUCTION OF HYDROCHLORIC ACID
Hydrochloric acid is a secretion produced by stomach cells which helps break down proteins into amino acids.
Incorporating foods that stimulate its production into your diet can enable your body to absorb proteins better. Such foods include onions, kale, black olives, spinach, lemon and garlic.
TAKE VITAMIN B-6 (PYRIDOXINE)
The primary function of vitamin B-6 is to help enzymes break down proteins and carry the resultant amino acids into the bloodstream.
Increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin B-6 such as legumes, fish, nuts, and meat can help your body absorb proteins better.
TAKING PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENTS
Taking probiotic supplements can improve the functioning of the bacteria lining your digestive tract. These bacteria help in breaking down and digesting food.
An example of a probiotic that can help improve protein absorption is B. coagulans 30. Research also suggests that taking certain probiotic supplements can improve absorption and utilization of nutrients like proteins.
TAKE DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
Taking digestive enzymes such as proteases which aid in breaking down protein can help improve your body’s ability to absorb protein.
A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition revealed that men who took Aminogen, which is a blend of proteases, with whey concentrate experienced a higher rate of absorption.
Digestive enzymes are usually incorporated into most protein powders. You can also find them in fruits such as pineapples (protease bromelain) and bananas (amylases).
EAT FOODS CONTAINING COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
Consuming complex carbohydrates together with protein foods stimulates your body to produce insulin which improves the ability of muscles to absorb the amino acids after the breakdown of proteins.
This is mostly beneficial before doing exercises aimed at building muscle.
Therefore, eating foods loaded with complex carbohydrates such as starchy foods and whole grains before high-intensity exercises can produce the best protein-absorbing results.
CHEW FOOD THOROUGHLY
Generally, chewing food properly before swallowing improves the breakdown process, which can, in turn, improve absorption of nutrients into the body.
It also activates the digestion enzymes present in your mouth and prompts them to begin the digestion process.
SIGNS OF PROTEIN DEFICIENCY
Protein deficiency refers to a situation where your protein intake does not meet the protein requirements of your body.
Though uncommon in developed countries, it a severe problem in developing countries such as those in South Asia and Central Africa, where about 30% of children do not get enough protein in their diet.
Some signs of protein deficiency are edema, skin degeneration, stunted growth in children, increase in severity of infections and loss of muscle mass.
Slow digesting proteins have a lot of benefits, including boosting muscle growth, providing antibacterial benefits to your body and aiding in fat loss.
Some of the best slow digesting protein foods that you can add to your diet are;
Making cottage cheese involves separating and removing the fast-digesting whey protein, leaving only casein which digests slowly. It is easy to add to your diet because not only is it a popular snack, but it can also be combined with a variety of flavours and ingredients.
Greek yoghurt contains plenty of casein protein and as such, is a good source of slow digesting protein.
It is produced through straining, which makes it more protein-dense than most yoghurt types. Also, it is easy to incorporate into your diet because it is a snack that is easy to consume.
You can also take advantage of its creaminess by including it in your recipes.
This can be an alternative to Greek yoghurt. It is also a strained type of yoghurt with high casein protein content.
Skyr tastes a bit like Greek yoghurt, but people generally find skyr more appealing because it is less intense compared to Greek yoghurt.
All hard cheeses contain a significant amount of casein, which makes them good examples of slow digesting protein foods.
Their digestion period is also significantly longer than cottage cheese.
However, if you are going for hard cheeses, make sure you avoid ricotta cheese which is made up of whey protein that digests fast.
Milk is made up of 80% casein, which makes it one of the best slow digesting protein foods. Full-fat dairy is the best option if you are looking to consume the slowest digesting versions of milk because the high-fat content slows digestion too.
Milk is very versatile hence easy to incorporate into your recipes.
BEEF AND LAMB
These two types of meat digest faster than casein-dense protein foods but significantly slower than protein from legumes or grains.
They also contain fibre and fat, which slow down digestion. Hence, cuts of meat that are fattier may be digested at a slower rate than lean cuts.
The digestion period of pork is between four and a half and five hours which is more than that of beef and lamb. It is also fatty, which makes its digestion considerably slower.
CHICKEN AND TURKEY
Chicken and turkey take between one and a half and two and a half hours to get digested, which is relatively slow. Like beef, lamb and pork, their fat content increases their digestion time.
Varieties of fish that contain plenty of fat such as salmon and herring are good sources of slow digesting protein due to their high-fat content. They are also versatile and packed with plenty of nutrients.
Nuts are also a good source of slow digesting protein. Their digestion typically takes between two and a half hours and three hours. Their versatility makes it easy for you to include them in your diet. They are also easy to eat as a snack and they have a relatively long shelf life.
Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are alternative options of slow digesting protein. They take about two hours to get digested, meaning they are a bit on the lower end of the scale.
However, they make for excellent sources of slow digesting protein due to their versatility and ease of use.
Chia seeds, for example, can be sprinkled on top of smoothies and milkshakes while sunflower seeds can be eaten raw or roasted.
Plant proteins such as soy and pea are typically slow-digesting because they contain fibre which greatly reduces their absorption rate.
Plant proteins are ideal for vegans who cannot get protein from animal protein as well as people who are allergic to animal protein.
THE FINAL WORD
Whether foods are slow or fast-digesting very much depends on the composition of their nutrients.
Slow digesting and fast-digesting protein foods are both important.
There isn’t a wrong protein to consume; it just depends on what goals you are looking to accomplish by consuming that specific type of protein.
Whatever your goals are, it is important to carry out a thorough research on the available types of proteins to determine which ones best suit you.[related_posts_by_tax posts_per_page="4"]