January 30, 2023

What is Protein All About

Let’s look at some elements of protein and why it is an essential nutrient that plays such a vital role in maintaining our overall health and wellness. Our bodies need protein to build and repair muscle, maintain a healthy metabolism, support bone health, aid in weight loss, and boost the immune system.

1. Protein is vital for the growth and repair of muscle tissue because it is made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle. When you exercise, you stress your muscles causing small tears in the muscle fibers. In order to repair and grow these muscle fibers, your body needs an adequate amount of protein.

Consuming a source of protein such as lean meats, dairy, eggs, or plant-based options such as beans, lentils, and soy within 30 minutes to an hour after exercise can help promote muscle repair and growth. It is also important to note that eating enough protein throughout the day, not just after exercise, is essential for maintaining muscle mass and strength over time.

When the body has more muscle mass, it burns more calories at rest, promoting fat loss. These factors can all help improve the body’s ability to burn fat and maintain a healthy weight and a healthier body composition.

2. Protein is critical for maintaining a healthy metabolism. This is because it requires more energy (calories) to digest and absorb protein than carbohydrates and fats. The thermic effect of food (TEF) refers to the energy the body uses to digest, absorb, and process the food we eat. This metabolic process requires energy, and the amount of energy used depends on the type of food consumed. Essentially TEF implies that consuming protein can increase the number of calories your body burns at rest.

3. Protein is more satiating than carbohydrates and fats because of its impact on several hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate hunger and provides a longer-lasting feeling of fullness, which helps control appetite and reduce overall calorie intake. In addition, high-protein diets have been shown to help regulate insulin levels, leading to better blood sugar control and reducing food cravings.

4. Protein is essential for forming bone tissue and plays a vital role in maintaining bone health. Bones are composed of collagen, a type of protein, and other minerals that work together to provide the strength and stability needed for our bones to function properly. When the body has insufficient protein in the diet, bone tissue can begin to break down, resulting in a loss of bone density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

5. Protein plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system. The immune system relies on various cells and proteins to protect the body from pathogens and other harmful substances and repair and rebuild damaged tissue. Therefore, when the body is deficient in protein, it may not be able to support a strong immune response. However, it’s important to note that a diet high in protein alone is insufficient for a healthy immune system; the body also requires a balanced diet with enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. In addition, a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management also supports the immune system.

Protein is an essential nutrient vital to maintaining overall health and wellness. On average it is recommended that adults consume 10-35% of their total daily calories from protein. We need adequate protein in our diets to build and repair muscle, maintain a healthy metabolism, support bone health, aid in weight loss, and boost the immune system. To ensure you get enough protein in your diet, make it a point to include a variety of protein-rich non processed foods.