Why is protein so important?

You’ve heard it before how important protein is for your diet but why is it so beneficial and what does it actually do?

Whether you’re trying to reach a fitness goal or just trying to get through your daily life, incorporating protein into your daily diet can supercharge your health and well-being and provide nutritional and physical benefits. Having a good intake of protein can help:

  • The day to day function of your body
  • Promote a healthy immune system
  • Boost brain function
  • Help maintain your weight

Typically reserved for the male “gym junkies”, there are lots of misconceptions about protein, specifically protein powders, as a health food supplement. Together with Happy way, the protein experts, we answer some of the common questions asked.

What is protein powder?

Protein powder is a health food supplement derived from either diary or plant-based sources and is used to increase an individual’s intake of protein throughout the day. Protein can vary in features, benefits and ingredients so it’s important to find one that suits you and your dietary requirements and nutrition to make sure you’re choosing the right one for you.

You may have heard of Whey protein. one of the most common and popular protein sources used in protein power. It takes the most nutritious part of milk and removes the carbohydrates and fats and is considered the fastest to digest and absorb making it one of the best dietary sources of protein available. Whey protein is considered a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids needed for optimal health and bodily function, making it a great choice for women that have no dairy intolerances. 

Those looking for a vegan-friendly or lactose free option, a plant-based protein powder is a great alternative and can still offer many nutritional benefits. Sourced from plant matter such as soy, pea, hemp or rice, vegan protein powder is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 



Do you need protein powder to build muscle?

We often associate protein powders with weight training and muscle building, why? Both whey and plant-based proteins contain amino acids that assist in the muscle building process. 

During physical activity, muscle fibres break down and protein powders can help repair that damage and decrease your recovery time – this can help to increase your endurance, the intensity of your training and give you fewer aches and pains post-workout.

If you want to maintain lean muscle mass, studies have found that those that incorporated protein powder with exercise saw more lean muscle, less body fat over time and an improvement in their metabolism. While this all sounds like an easy solution, it’s important to note that consuming protein powders alone will not reap these results; regular exercise and a well-balanced diet in conjunction with protein powder is vital and nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. 


How much protein do I need?

It’s recommended that women 19 years and over have 46 grams of protein daily and 56 grams for men of the same age. If you find it difficult to hit this target from your daily food intake or still feel hungry after a meal, this is where incorporating more protein can help. 

When it comes to protein powder serving sizes, it varies depending on the individual and their activity level. As a general guide, we suggest starting with a 20-30g serving until you find the amount that suits you best – everyone is different and everyone’s protein intake will vary. 


When should I consume protein?

Protein has benefits both pre and post-workout and works well as a filling and convenient snack. Knowing when to consume your protein, whether it’s a shake or as part of a meal, is essential to ensuring you get the most out of the nutrients and using it correctly to achieve your goals.


  • Before a workout – Protein shakes are great in the morning as a quick meal to digest. If consumed 45 minutes prior to exercise it can help boost energy levels and endurance allowing you to go harder in the gym for a longer period.


  • After a workout – Having a protein shake or additional protein after a workout, will provide the body with much needed nutrients and amino acids for muscle growth and recovery – this is great for those exercising regularly to give your body that extra help to relieve sore muscles.  


Shake and Recipe inspo?

Protein powders aren’t exclusively reserved for protein shakes and smoothies, they can be used in baking as well to add additional protein to your treats – think Chocolate brownies or banana bread with some added protein and nutritional benefits. If you’re opting for a shake or smoothie, there are some additional ingredients you can add, together with a protein powder, to give you an additional health and energy boost:


  • Leafy greens – Dark leafy greens provide a tonne of nutritional and health benefits while also boosting muscle nation and strength. 


  • Cacao powder – Adding cacao powder to your smoothies can help with muscle repair and recovery post-workout. It also contains magnesium which is essential for maintaining healthy muscle and the function of the nervous system.


  • Complex carbohydrates – Including healthy carbs in your smoothies will provide the body with energy helping you feel fuller and train for longer.


Additional tips to get enough protein in your diet:


  • Try to keep your protein intake evenly distributed throughout the day so you have a consistent supply of energy.


  • Aim to include a source of protein in each meal and some or all snacks.


  • Protein powders are a great source of protein and can be easily added to your diet. 



Happy way believes that being healthy should be fun and have created products that are clean, honest and full of flavour to support you on your health and wellness journey. You can find their full range of protein powders and superfoods at happyway.com.au.

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