Muscles require protein to become stronger.
Protein is an essential element of a healthful diet, and particularly important to those who exercise regularly. It facilitates not only the repair of damaged tissues and muscle fibers, but muscle growth as well. As an added bonus, some proteins release slowly, which keeps you feeling full for longer. Another benefit of slow-release proteins is the steady release of nutrients to your body. Some athletes consume slow-release proteins before bed to keep their body nourished as they sleep.
Casein is a family of proteins found in cow’s milk. It congeals in your stomach and takes hours to digest, providing a slow release of protein. Solid cheeses have the highest natural content of casein, followed closely by cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is typically the healthier option, as it is available in reduced-fat and fat-free varieties. Milk is another excellent option, around 80-percent of its protein is casein - like cottage cheese, it is available low fat and fat-free. Combining dairy products in a meal packs a large amount of slow-digesting protein in one sitting. For example, eat a serving of cottage cheese with a glass of milk.
Poultry, Meat and Fish
Steak, pork, chicken, turkey, salmon and sole are just some of the options for slow-release protein from the meat category. While the protein in these foods digests slightly faster than casein, meat-based protein breaks down slower than that from legumes or grains. Always stick with healthful serving sizes of poultry, meat and fish - 3 ounces is a typical recommendation. Research suggests that eating red meat three times a week is a healthy limit, as it often contains high amounts of fat. Eating fish three times weekly promotes heart health. Poultry is safe to consume three times a week as well.