Your Performance Depends on Protein

As a high school athlete, every time you practice, train or play a game, you’re developing habits that lower your risk for cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, sarcopenia (loss of muscle tissue) and diabetes. The health benefits of physical activity are numerous, but so is the food you eat.

It’s important to keep one thing in mind — and it’s an important one: To boost the energy that fuels you through the game, you need to eat a balanced diet of fruit, veggies, healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins, to name a few.

Power of Protein

When you think of protein, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Meat, right? Well, protein is actually a macronutrient that can be found in many different foods, such as almonds, eggs, Greek yogurt, broccoli and, yes, meat. The importance of protein is that it is key to helping your body repair and regenerate new cells after those tough workouts and games. It provides amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own. In addition to helping repair and regenerate new cells, these amino acids can also help boost your immune system (and right now, we all need that!)

This is why you hear about professional athletes powering up with protein before practice or a game. One of your protein options is pork.

In Pork We Trust

Pork is packed with protein. In fact, according to our friends and partners at the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the high-quality protein in pork “provides all the essential amino acids needed by your body for growth and maintenance.” The chart below indicates just how much protein you get with only 3 oz. of pork compared to other proteins. (And really, who wants to eat 6.5 cups of broccoli a day?!)

Courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.

But wait, there’s more.

Pork also contains eight other essential nutrients that are great for your health, including zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, riboflavin, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin and selenium. These nutrients can do incredible things, such as help improve your immune system, regulate metabolism, convert food into energy and support a healthy cardiovascular system. No wonder it’s proven to be a beneficial part of athletes’ diets. 

Have your eye on a lean cut of meat? Pork has you covered! There are eight cuts of pork that meet the USDA standards for “lean.” And, fun fact, pork tenderloin is as lean as a skinless chicken breast.

Courtesy of the National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa.

Ready to give pork a try at the dinner table? Check out this recipe for our Big Game Italian Pork Sandwiches. Also, consider swapping the Thanksgiving turkey for this delicious recipe.

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