Protein-Rich Dairy for Fitness-Minded Women

May 23, 2014

All women dream of a large steak for dinner, right? Not likely. Most women I see in my practice are not drawn to the same protein sources as men, but protein is just as important for women. The fitness-minded woman might not even realize the benefits protein can provide for her muscles and health. The great news is that protein sources are diverse and found in beans, fish, eggs and dairy foods.

Milk and milk products provide a unique package of essential nutrients, including high-quality protein. It is easy to get and easy on the budget. Milk contains both carbohydrates and protein, which are important for active women. Milk’s carbohydrates help provide energy, while its protein is good for muscles and bones.

When a woman thinks “protein,” she may envision a male body builder and equate this with “bulking up.” This is not the case. Protein will not make her look like the next Hulk. Protein such as that found in dairy foods can help women, whatever their goal may be, from feeling fuller longer between meals to toning up in their next BodyPump class.

Dairy protein, as part of a higher protein diet, can help with weight maintenance goals, because high quality protein eaten throughout the day can increase the feeling of satiety between meals. Consuming a diet higher in protein also can help active women reduce muscle loss that naturally comes with aging — a great complement to regular exercise!

Physical activity, such as strength and cardio, helps women maintain their muscle mass, which in turn protects their bone structure. Most people will reach their peak bone mass between the ages of 25 and 30. By the time a woman reaches age 40, she is beginning to lose bone mass. Bone loss can be significantly slowed through proper nutrition such as high quality protein, calcium, and vitamin D from dairy foods and regular weight bearing exercise.

However, after weight training muscles break down. The high quality protein such as that found in dairy foods will nourish tired muscles and help them repair to be stronger and ready for the next workout.

So with the one-two-three combo of protein, dairy foods and exercise, most women should be able to keep a healthy physique and stay away from the #OrthoDoc!

Next time you leave that Zumba class, replenish with cold low-fat and fat-free milk – and recommend it as an after-workout beverage to your clients.