Protein is essential for anyone wanting to live a long and healthy life. The main job of protein is to help your body recover and repair from the stresses of everyday life. It supports the growth and maintenance of lean muscle. As we get older everything gets a little bit harder and the more muscle you are able to retain the easier it will be on your joints and bones meaning a better quality of life. Read on to find out some of the other benefits of eating protein and how it can help you lead a healthier life.
1. Feel fuller for longer
Lots of studies have shown that protein makes you feel fuller for longer. Protein changes the levels of our hunger hormones - making us feel fuller. As a result you naturally eat less without feeling hungry. Eating more processed foods can mess with your hormones and cause overeating. Try eating a lot of lean protein with good vegetables and carbohydrates and see how difficult it is to eat a lot of it without feeling full. Compare this with how you might feel when eating a ready meal from the supermarket.
2. Thermic effect of feeding
It takes energy to digest food. The thermic effect of eating (or feeding) is the number of calories you use up when eating and digesting your food. You actually use up more energy trying to process protein than you do processing carbohydrates or fats. When you eat whole, natural foods rather than processed ones this process uses more calories again, which highlights the importance of eating real food if you are conscious about your body and health.
3. Provision of nutrients
Protein provides us with amino acids (which help produce important molecules in our body) of which there are two types - essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. We cannot produce essential amino acids ourselves so we have to get them from our diet. Most animal based protein will provide all of the essential amino acids but if you don’t eat meat it can seem harder to get all of the essential amino acids. The best way to make sure you are getting all the essential amino acids is to eat a wide variety of plant based protein sources. Check out this article for more information on plant based protein. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body but it is best to help support the body by supplementing with your diet.
4. Repair and recover
You may have heard before that proteins are the building blocks of life. This is true because without them your body wouldn’t be able to function. Amino acids are important in the production of hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters and antibodies. Amino acids travel in the blood to replace other amino acids in cells. Thus helping to replace worn out cells and helping the body repair and recover from the stresses of everyday life.
Do not underestimate the importance of having enough protein in your diet. Not only does it support basic bodily functions but it also plays a role in your metabolism, weight management and your performance. You don’t just have to eat meat, there are plenty of plant based protein sources available. The key takeaway point is protein isn’t just for building muscle and getting big. It plays a huge role in determining good health and your body needs protein if you want to function well on a daily basis.