First of all, what does protein do?
Protein makes up the building blocks that are found in every cell of the body. When we eat protein, it breaks down into amino acids that can be used by the body to make enzymes and hormones, muscle tissue, skin and blood. Yes, it’s pretty important! Besides the fact that your whole body is literally made of it, here are some other great reasons to make sure you are getting enough!
Protein can help increase muscle mass
• If you are active, protein helps to build new muscle and repair the muscle tears that occur during exercise. However, when you ingest protein seems to determine how well your body builds muscle. In a study, people who ate protein with every meal instead of only a large portion in the evening had 25% greater muscle protein synthesis. Adding 20-30g of quality protein with every meal helps to ensure optimum muscle growth.
Essential for healthy hair
• Longing for lustrous, beautiful hair? Your hair is made up of keratin, a structural protein that is created by the protein we consume on a daily basis, so unless we get enough protein through our diet - no va-va-voom hair in sight!
High protein diets improve weight loss
• On a conventional high-carb, low-fat and low-protein diet, 20%-30% of weight loss is muscle. Muscle mass is not only important for strength and agility, but it also burns more calories than fat. Increasing protein intake and exercise can stop the loss of muscle mass and increase fat burn, improving body composition. Further, protein keeps you sated for longer, making us less prone to spontaneous sugar frenzies.
Builds strong, healthy bones
• You may not give your bones any thought – they are one of those things we don’t think about until we break one! But osteoporosis is more common than you think, and if we do something now, we can prevent them from breaking in the future. This means, that we should not only ensure an adequate calcium intake, but also load our plates with healthy proteins. Protein is essential for growing healthy bones and maintaining bone health throughout life.
What foods contain protein?
Lean meats, seafood, milk, eggs, yogurt, beans, tofu, lentils, nuts, seeds and some grains such as amaranth, oats and quinoa.