The Scituation

Scituate High School's student newspaper

The Scituation

The Scituation


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Eat More Protein!

According to the National Institutes of Health, “Protein is a molecule made up of amino acids. They are the basis of body structures, such as hair,  skin, and other substances such as enzymes and antibodies.” Eating protein is critical for athletes because it helps with muscle growth and repair. Protein provides most of the building blocks needed to build and maintain strong muscles and keep healthy. It also helps with recovery after intense workouts or competitions.

When you exercise, your muscles undergo stress and small tears occur. Protein helps repair these tears and helps your muscles recover. Eating protein consistently can lead to increased strength and improved athletic performance. If you don’t eat enough protein after a workout, your muscles may not recover as quickly, and any gains may take longer than expected.

Protein is also essential for energy production. While carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel source, protein can be used as an energy source during long exercise or when carbohydrate stores are low. Including protein in your diet can help ensure one has enough energy to power through your workouts, practices, and games. Griffin McGirr, a student-athlete at Scituate High School, agrees that he feels healthier and can perform better before his games if he eats a healthy, protein-filled meal. “With a healthy meal before a game, I feel more energized and ready to play my best.”

To meet your protein needs, include a variety of protein-rich foods in your diet. Based on MyPlate.GOV and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and seeds. A recommendation is to have a source of protein with each meal and snack to ensure you’re getting enough throughout the day.

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In addition to muscle growth and repair, protein also plays a role in supporting your immune system. Intense exercise can temporarily weaken the immune system, making athletes, especially young athletes, more susceptible to illnesses and infections. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “Consuming adequate protein can help support immune function and keep you healthy.”

Protein is also important for maintaining a healthy body weight. It can help you feel fuller for longer, which can prevent overeating and support weight management. Also from the NIH, “protein has a higher thermic effect compared to carbohydrates and fats, which means your body burns more calories digesting and processing protein.”

Lastly, protein is not only important for athletes but for everyone. It’s a vital nutrient that supports overall health and wellbeing. So even if you’re not an athlete, incorporating protein-rich foods into your diet is a smart choice and will make a big difference in your day, even if you don’t realize it.