List Of The Best Protein Sources To Help Basketball Players Get Stronger & Recover Faster
If you have read our Ultimate Guide To Basketball Nutrition you would know just how important protein is for basketball performance.
Simply put, protein is essential.
Yet, lack of adequate protein consumption remains one of the most common nutrition mistakes basketball players make.
Protein can help basketball players build and repair muscle.
It also helps athletes recover from intense training sessions plus plays many roles in maintaining general health and well-being.
In our guide to low carb dieting for basketball players we discussed how carbohydrates can be synthesized from both proteins and fats.
Protein on the other hand cannot be produced by the body.
If you don’t consume enough protein your body will start breaking down your hard earned muscle tissue to get the amino acids it requires.
Amino acids are essentially the building blocks of protein.
There are 20 known amino acids.
9 of these amino acids are known as essential amino acids.
This means that they cannot be made on their own.
There are also 11 Non-essential amino acids are the amino acids you can synthesize either from essential amino acids or from protein.
When choosing protein sources you should opt for ones that contain a full balanced amino acid profile.
It is also beneficial to choose protein sources that also contain micro-nutrients and other essential nutrients to help you performing at your best this basketball season.
A basketball player needs to consume around 1.4-1.8g/kg body weight to support lean muscle mass and recovery efforts.
Therefor a 80 kg athlete would consume between 112g-144g protein per day.
Research shows that protein intake of 1.8 g/kg body weight is the upper limit for muscle protein synthesis, therefore eating more than that is not likely to add any further benefit .
Let's take a look at the 5 best sources of protein basketball players can choose to help boost on-court performance and recovery efforts.
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Here Are The Top 5 Protein Sources Basketball Players Can Eat:
Eggs are one of the best sources of protein a basketball player can choose to eat.
Eggs are jam packed full of amino acids plus are rich in thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, vitamin B12, biotin, vitamin D, vitamin E and phosphorus.
Best yet, eggs are very affordable, easy to prepare and delicious.
If possible, choose free range eggs. These tend to have higher levels of omega 3 fats which are great for lowering inflammation and promoting recovery.
Also, remember not to throw out the yolk. Yes, the majority of protein is in the egg white, but the yolk is where all the vitamins and minerals are found.
Fish is another delicious high quality protein option for basketball players.
Fish is the number one source for omega-3s which are great for heart and brain health.
Try to eat wild fish whenever possible. Farmed fish tends to contain less omega 3 fatty acids and may also contain more contaminants.
If you are going to eat a lot of fish it is best to choose smaller fish species that are lower in the food chain. Large fish such as tuna live long lives and accumulate heavy metals which can have many negative health effects.
Better options are things such as sardines or whiting.
Chicken is a affordable protein source that contains all the essential amino acids basketball players need to thrive.
A 100g serving of chicken contains 27g of protein and 239 calories.
If you can afford it, purchase free range or organic chicken as it tends to be higher in nutrients.
Beef is high in protein and is packed with zinc, iron and all essential amino acids.
It's exceptionally rich in high-quality proteins, vitamins, and minerals that can help athletes build muscle and perform at their best.
5. Whey Protein
Whey protein is also the most convenient option for busy athletes who have difficulty finding time to consume high protein meals multiple times per day.
Whey protein is the most popular and effective protein powder consumed. We listed in our top 10 supplements for basketball players.
Whey contains all the essential amino acids and is high in all of the most important performance enhancing branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine and valine.
It is also high in glutamine which boosts immunity and has been shown to promote faster muscle recovery.
- Phillips S.M. and L.J. Van Loon (2011). Dietary protein for athletes: from requirements to optimum adaptation. J. Sports Sci. 29 Suppl:S29-38