Walk down any grocery aisle and you'll quickly realize that protein is one of the new buzzwords in food marketing. Heck it's touted on things like breakfast cereal (usually the sugar-filled ones), many of the frozen pre-packaged meals and a host of other things.
The reason for this is there's been a lot of emphasis lately on protein specifically in relation to health and aging.
But let's take a step back and ask..
What is Protein and why does are body need it?
Proteins are organic molecules that consist of the building blocks of life – amino acids.
When consumed, the body breaks down each protein molecule and absorbs these amino acids into our bloodstream where the travel throughout the body and are used to do various things such as:
Break down food
Repair body tissue
Perform many other body functions
The Vital Importance Of Protein
As you can seen the amino acids we derive from eating protein are critical to our health especially as we age. Our bodies naturally lose muscle mass for example as we get older, a process called sarcopenia. Not giving our body adequate amounts of protein can hasten that process which leads to a host of issues such as loss of strength & balance
But it's not just muscle that is affected. The amino acids from protein contribute to the plasma amino acid pool. This ‘storage’ for amino acids travels through the bloodstream and lends building blocks where needed.
For example, the body needs a wide variety of amino acids to produce hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. We also need amino acids for the creation of new cells and the removal of old and ‘worn-out’ ones.
Protein is also vital for muscle recovery and growth after strenuous physical activity. Some studies have found that protein plays a crucial role in the liberation and oxidation of fatty acids.
Some proteins also serve as carriers and transport various substances within the body. Such an example is hemoglobin – the primary carrier for oxygen.
Several Other Benefits Of Eating More Protein
Oh, but we are not done. Aside from its many health and fitness benefits, protein delivers some other advantages, including:
● Reduced appetite and fewer cravings;
● Improved bone health;
● A small boost in metabolic rate;
● Regulating blood pressure;
● Allows the body to heal itself quicker;
● Aids skin, hair, and nail health;
● Allows us to stay fit as we age.
As a whole, protein is vital for much more than muscle and strength gain. The nutrient plays a role in many processes within the body, and if we want to stay healthy and feel good, we should get more of it.
Protein-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
Here are some of the best protein sources you should get more of:
● Meats and poultry;
● Fish and seafood;
● Cottage cheese;
● Greek yogurt;
● Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc.);
● Lentils. chickpeas & Beans
On top of that, you can also get yourself a protein powder supplement. Some of the best ones include egg, whey, and casein protein.
As you can see protein is crucial to having a happy, healthy body and to maintaining our mobility, strength & balance.