It becomes crucial for the body to receive adequate amount of proteins as our body neither manufactures nor stores it. And this can be ensured only when the body is able to digest protein properly. Taking carbohydrates and other sugars into consideration, their digestion starts right from the time they are in the mouth. However, this is not the case with proteins. Their digestion begins in the stomach with the help of hydrochloric acid that converts pepsinogen into pepsin. It is further continued in the intestines by the enzymes, trypsin and chymotrypsin. The proteins are digested to release amino acids. However, being one of the largest molecules of food, protein does not get digested easily. But there are some tips you can follow to improve your ability to digest protein.
Ways to Enhance Digestion of Protein
One of the most recommended methods to enhance the way protein is digested is eating small, frequent meals. Most of us stick to the habit of taking three heavy meals a day. As mentioned above, proteins are hard to digest; usually, it may take 3 hours or more for complete digestion. So eating frequently creates a suitable environment for protein absorption. Try eating a meal consisting of meat and vegetables, and later, one with carbs in it. Frequent eating gives enough time for the gastric acid to digest a good portion of the meat, and the pancreas and saliva can also secrete enough enzymes needed for digestion.
Go for the most digestible forms of protein; those which have already been broken into their basic form. One of the best examples is whey protein. If you are into intense workouts, then it is recommended that you have this product after you are done with exercise. Thirty minutes later, however, you must help yourself with a proper meal. Whey protein works best after the body has undergone intense physical activity as that is the time when the body is in a state of absorbing a higher amount of protein.
The way a type of protein is metabolized in a person, may be different from that of another. So you have to watch out for the type of proteins suitable for your digestive system. This you can do by trying all sorts of protein sources and notice which ones cause digestive problems and which ones don't. For example, some people may easily digest red or processed meats, while for some, egg whites and skinless poultry are more digestible. Generally, easily digestible proteins include egg whites, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, soybeans, etc.
One of the best aids for protein digestion in the stomach is drinking enough water. Generally speaking, food needs to be hydrated, broken down and must be easily movable in the digestive tract so that it can be digested. And water does all these for the body. So when it comes to digestion of protein, drinking water is imperative. Usually, it is recommended to drink 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Also, it is advisable to drink water half an hour before and an hour after the meal. Drinking during the meal should be avoided as this dilutes the gastric juices required for digestion.
Protein digestibility can also be improved by combining it with vegetables. This would keep the body from getting overwhelmed with protein thus, helping the tissues to work less harder in metabolizing the protein.
It is equally important that you be aware of your daily protein intake. According to the W.H.O, healthy adults are required to take 0.45 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight per day.
So this is how you can improve your protein digestibility by following a few simple steps at home. Needless to say, protein alone is not sufficient, and it has to be inculcated in the diet in conjunction with other nutrients. In other words, a balanced diet is the key to healthy living.