Importance Of Protein And Its Health Benefits

Protein is a necessary part of a healthy and well-balanced diet. It is indeed a crucial element that should be considered. The word comes from Greek, which translates to ‘primary.’ The essential function of protein is to work in the cell and perform various jobs. It accounts for multiple factors and functions of the body which directly influence overall growth. This includes:

  • Growth and maintenance of tissues.
  • Causes biochemical reactions for muscle recovery and energy production.
  • Chemical messenger between cells, tissues, and organs.
  • Gives your muscles all the stiffness and rigidity.
  • Maintains proper pH of the body.
  • Sustains fluid balance between the blood and the surrounding tissues.
  • Transports and stores nutrients.
  • Provides energy for the body.
  • Sustains and increases the metabolism of the body.

Good protein sources are lean meats, low fat dairy, protein shakes, and beans/lentils. Fatty meats and full-fat dairy have higher calories and less protein per serving.

If you need help reaching your protein goals, protein shakes and bars are a convenient way to reach your goals.

Importance of getting enough protein:

Protein is an efficient source of maintaining your weight and muscle mass. It reduces appetite and hunger levels. With the strength gain, it keeps your metabolism high. It is also great for your bones and offers long-term strength. It also tends to reduce cravings and late-night snacking. The increase in metabolism automatically encourages more fat loss while lowering your blood pressure. Ultimately it helps you stay fit as you age; here are some of the crucial sources and benefits of consuming protein.

  • Protein is the macronutrient that helps you retain/gain muscle. As you lose weight, you will lose muscle along with fat. As you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down, and it becomes harder to lose weight. Consuming enough protein protects too much muscle from being lost.
  • A high-protein diet increases muscle mass. It has also proven to show significant health benefits for weight loss and metabolic health.
  • Protein helps keep you full. It creates the feeling of satiety. If you are in a calorie deficit, you need to fill your tummy with foods that keep hunger at bay to avoid overeating.
  • Protein has the highest thermic effect on food versus the other macros. This means out of all the macros, your body uses the most energy to digest it. No extra effort on your part! Free calorie burns! The exact thermic effect has yet to be discovered. However, there are ranges, and the below examples consider numbers within that range. For example, if you eat 400 calories of protein throughout the day, your body uses 30% of that energy to digest. That’s 120 calories that you do not have to worry about burning. On the other hand, if you eat 400 calories of carbs, your body may use only 10% of that energy to digest it. That is 40 calories burned through digesting carbs versus 120 calories through digesting protein, a difference of 80 calories. Think 80 calories isn’t a lot? Let me put this into perspective. An extra 100 calories a day can lead to a 10 lb weight gain over a year. Every calorie counts!

Here are some of the top sources of lean protein:

    Yogurt is excellent for digestive health, with 15-20 grams of protein in 170- grams of Greek yogurt. Because of the straining of the yogurt, the yogurt is packed with essential proteins. With only 3 grams of fat and 125 calories per 6 ounces, it is a great choice for people seeking skinnier protein sources.
    With less than 3 grams of fat and 20-25 grams of protein in just 85-130 calories, white fish is the ultimate source of lean protein. The category of lean fish includes cod, haddock, halibut, tilapia, and bass. Not only is it a great source of protein, but it is also great for your immune system and metabolism.
    On average, about 100 grams of beans or lentils have 8 grams of protein. These are sources of low fat and high fiber, great for digestive health, that keep your blood cholesterol in control. These are fulfilling sources of protein and show outstanding results in gut health. They are not too heavy on the stomach and fulfill the body and its demand of feeling hungry.
    Approximately 100 grams of cooked chicken or turkey breast has approximately 30 grams of protein. The darker cuts of meat, such as drumsticks and thighs, are still good options, but the breast is more optimal. Also, skip the skin which is high in fat and calories!
    A good source of protein, low-fat cottage cheese is high-protein, with approximately 28 grams of protein per 226 grams with just 163 calories and 2.5 grams of fat. Studies show that it increases calcium absorption and is very healthy for the gut health of an individual looking for a leaner option.
    Beef is not all bad; lean beef is an excellent source of protein, with 4.5 grams of fat in 100 grams. Lean beef is generally known as the word ‘loin’ or ’round,’ and it is an excellent source of protein. When opting for ground beef, you should opt for something with 90-95% lean meat to ensure that you are eating well without loading too much.
    Who would’ve thought dairy could be protein? It is true! One cup of low-fat and 1% milk has approximately 8 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat. With only 105 calories, low-fat milk can save you from unwanted calories when moving towards a healthier lifestyle.
    Egg whites are the real deal if you are ovo-vegetarian. With just 0.5 grams of fat and .5 grams of protein in 1 whole egg white, it can be your ultimate source of protein intake. It is excellent for your bones and a good source of easy protein to cook and gulp down without extensively making a whole meal plan.

These are some common sources of lean proteins, which are great for people who need more protein. With the proper amplification and commitment, you can always gain muscle and reduce fat while adding healthy calories.

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