Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, you certainly heard the benefits of adding protein to your diet.
Well, all the fuss about protein is well-deserved. Being a key building block of muscles, bones, skin, teeth, hair, and nails, and an essential component in different bodily functions, protein is an essential macronutrient required by the body to stay healthy.
Simply put, our body needs a continuous supply of protein to build, repair, oxygenate, digest, and regulate.
Why Do You Need to Eat Protein Every Day?
Unlike carbohydrate and fat, protein doesn’t get stored in the body. This means, there is no reservoir the body can draw protein from whenever needed.
Since the body needs protein for almost every function, it starts to breakdown tissues and muscles when it is not supplied. In addition to muscle degeneration, protein deficiency can cause nutrient malabsorption, anemia, liver problems, low heart rate, low blood pressure, and edema (a condition in which the body starts swelling because of fluid retention in tissues).
Here are three more reasons you should consider increasing protein consumption in order to avoid protein deficiency:
1. Protein Helps You Maintain (and Lose) Weight
While effective weight loss requires making lifestyle and dietary changes, consuming an adequate amount of protein, every day, has been found to be quite helpful.
Protein makes you feel full and satisfied for a longer period of time. This prevents you from overeating, as well as reduces cravings or the urge to snack every few hours.
A study conducted on overweight women showed that the increase in protein intake, from 15% to 30% of daily calories, caused the participants to consume 441 lesser calories each day.
Eating adequate amounts of protein every day is one of the simplest ways to reduce your calorie intake without starving yourself.
2. Protein Promotes Healthy Brain Function
While our brain and neurons are essentially made of fat, the neurotransmitters through which the brain sends signals to different parts of the body are made of amino acids – the building blocks of protein.
Eating protein not only helps to maintain the production and smooth functioning of neurotransmitters but also keeps you alert by prompting the brain to produce dopamine and norepinephrine.
Protein also improves cognitive functions, concentration, as well as help improving motor skills.
3. Protein Strengthens Your Immune System
The antibodies that your immune system releases in response to bacterial and viral infections in the body are made of protein.
Protein deficiency makes your immune system incapable to fight against bacteria and viruses and increases your chances to fall ill.
Caution – Too Much Protein Can Be Harmful
As they say, anything in excess is bad, and that includes consuming too much protein. Eating more protein than your body requires may cause:
- Kidney stones and kidney disease
- Weight gain
- High cholesterol
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk of cancer
The effects excess of protein has on a person’s body depends on a variety of factors, such as the sources of protein, overall health condition, and lifestyle factors.
How Much Protein Should You Eat?
For an average person, the maximum dosage of protein is 2gms per kilogram of body weight. This means, for a 140-pound person, the maximum amount of protein is 125 grams per day.
The importance of protein in the body has long been established. Just like all other essential nutrients, your body needs a regular supply of protein to stay healthy and function properly. But, the fact that it cannot be stored, like other nutrients, means that you need to include protein-rich foods in your diet to avoid protein deficiency.