You’re probably aware that protein is one of the building blocks of a healthy diet. But do you know why? What is it that makes protein so great? Why do doctors and nutritionists recommend that adults take in 40-50 grams a day? Most importantly of all, how can you actually get more protein in your diet?
If you’re wondering why protein intake is the foundation of health and wellness, here are just eight things to consider.
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1. It fills you up.
There’s a reason why so many diets encourage the consumption of high-protein foods. In addition to being a healthy alternative to things like sugar, it also fills up your stomach and gives you a feeling of fullness long after you’ve finished a meal. This is mainly because of the thermogenesis it causes inside of your body. Long story short, if you’re hoping to shed a few pounds before the holidays, eat meals that are rich in protein.
2. It builds muscle.
If you’re trying to bulk up, protein is the secret ingredient to looking like a Men’s Fitness cover model. Not only does it stimulate your tendons and ligaments on a molecular level, but it also encourages the formation of lean muscle mass. You’ll put on the right kind of muscle in a shorter amount of time when you regularly consume protein.
3. It stabilizes your blood sugar.
Do you suffer from diabetes or other blood sugar disorders? Or maybe you’re just tired of experiencing those mid-morning crashes after the coffee has worn off. The good news is that protein has been proven to slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, so it can help to keep your glycemic levels nice and even while you go about your day.
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4. It strengthens your bones.
Calcium is the chemical that gets thrown around the most when talking about bone health, but protein is just as important. In fact, without protein, calcium has a harder time absorbing and metabolizing into the bones! If you want to do right by the skeleton inside of you, try to get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and protein. You’ll appreciate the effort when you’re a senior citizen without osteoporosis.
5. It improves your mood.
You’ve probably already heard of “feel good” hormones like serotonin and dopamine. But did you know that protein helps to synthesize them? It has a tangible effect on the neurotransmitters in your brain, and it helps to release those happy-making chemicals inside your body when you’re stressed or upset. The next time you’re looking for a natural way to beat the blues, consider a healthy protein shake.
6. It stimulates your mind.
Speaking of brains, let’s talk about the way that amino acids can boost your brain function. Studies have proven that people with healthier diets are smarter, more alert and more cognitively aware than others, and it’s been suggested that protein plays an important role in this. Protein is needed to create everything from enzymes to brain hormones, so if you aren’t getting enough, you’re losing function and therefore brainpower from their lack.
7. It helps you sleep.
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No one likes to toss and turn, but few people realize that the solution might be right there in the pantry. Research into the link between food and rest has shown that protein can help you get a deeper night’s sleep for longer periods of time. Scientists think it might have something to do with the way it affects chemical transfers in the brain, but no one is completely sure. They just know that protein is good for ZZZs.
8. It fights the effects of aging.
Protein is the fountain of youth that you’ve been looking for all along. Not only will it help to prevent age-related bone disorders like sarcopenia, but it also plays an important role in synthesizing the nutrients and antioxidants that you need to combat aging. Have you ever heard of glutathione? It’s one of the natural ways to reduce carcinogens, and it can’t be created without protein.