Why Is Protein Good for You?

Protein is a macronutrient, just like fats and carbohydrates. This means that the body needs protein in large amounts. However, human body does not have the ability to store protein, meaning you have to resort to other ways to make up for it, such as including protein in your diet. But why is protein important and what does it do for your body? Read on to find out the answers.

Why Is Protein Good for You?

Protein is one of the most important components of body cells. As the building block of the body, all the organs such as skin, muscles, hair and nails, cartilage, blood and bones are built from proteins. In addition, protein ensures the normal function of our immune system, blood and digestive system. Protein is essential in the body for producing and repairing tissues. It is also used to make body chemicals including hormones and enzymes. Here are additional benefits of eating protein:

1.       Builds Strong Immune System

The body releases antibodies or immunoglobulins as a response to the presence of foreign antigens. The antibodies are proteins in different patterns, without which the defense mechanism in the body cannot function at all. The antibodies prevent infections and illnesses, and speed up recovery from diseases.

2.       Helps Maintain Healthy Weight

Protein is required to build muscle mass. However, a protein-rich diet is important for a healthy weight gain. Individuals that take high protein diets manage their weight gain better than those who take low protein diet. High protein diets increase satiety and make you feel full for a longer period. Protein helps in building lean mass, which is very important to losing weight in a healthy way.

3.       Needed for Wound Healing

The anticoagulants applied on injury sites and cuts are protein molecules. Anticoagulants are used in tissues repair and re-growth. The body takes a longer period to heal wounds and injuries when it lacks essential amino acids, which are components of anticoagulants. This delayed healing increase the risk of infection.

4.       Required for Energy

Why is protein good for you? Proteins and other macronutrients such as carbohydrates and fats supply energy in the body. Proteins provide 10-15% of calorie intake per day. The body breaks down proteins in food into amino acids, which build different proteins that cells require. However, 10% of the protein in food provides energy forvarious body functions.

5.       Helps Maintain Healthy Hair and Skin

Hair is made up of a protein called keratin. Low protein intake leads to hair problems such as brittleness, hair loss, split ends and stunted hair growth. The skin is made of a fibrous protein that is referred to as collagen. The protein holds the skin tissue together and provides strength.

6.       Ensures a Normal Nervous System

Proteins enable the nervous system to function smoothly. Any trigger activates the nervous systems and causes it to respond with the appropriate reaction. The receptor sites in the systems that cause the prompt response are made of protein complexes. The receptor sites transit nerve signals in the cells and assist in regulating the central nervous system.

7.       Promotes Muscular Health

Proteins are essential for muscle contraction and coordination. Muscle tissues contain proteins in form of microfilaments, which provide muscle structure. Muscle growth depends on the availability of proteins. The balance between the synthesis of muscle proteins and their breakdown is very important. The rate at which muscle proteins breakdown varies based on protein requirement in the body.

8.       Keeps Fluid Balance

One answer to the question, "why is protein good for you?" is their contribution to fluid balance in the body. Water is drawn to proteins. Hence, a cell with sufficient protein amounts will have balanced water content. Insufficient protein level in cells will lead to fluid imbalance, which causes the body to deviate from the normal ph or acidity value. Fluid imbalance in the blood may cause leakages in blood vessels and fluid accumulation in tissues, which leads to edema. In addition, fluid balance plays an important role for other body functions such as muscle and nerve cells functions.

9.       Benefits Joints

The collagen in proteins provides structural scaffolding in cells and promotes bone health. Individuals work exercise intensely and athletes who train for long hours depend on the production of collagen in their bodies. Sufficient collagen production prevents joint injuries and keeps the individuals strong and healthy. Collagen protein is also essential for treating inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis.

How Much Protein Is Enough?

Although proteins are essential for building muscles, the body requires proteins in moderation. Here are protein requirement for different age groups:

  • Active men and teenage boys require three servings of proteins daily that are equivalent to sevens ounces in total.
  • Children between 2 and 6 years, women and the elderly require two servings per day, which provide five ounces of proteins.
  • Active women, teenage girls, men and older children require two servings daily that provide six ounces in total.

Best Sources of Protein

After answering the question, "why is protein good for you?" you need to learn the healthy sources of the macronutrient. These include:

  • Eggs: A medium egg contains 6g of protein with a high biological value. The protein in eggs has all 20 amino acids in a digestible form.
  • Milk: Dairies are rich in calcium and protein. Chocolate milk and milk-based smoothies are essential for recovery after exercise with the rich amount of carbohydrates, which can help to energize the body, and a combination of whey and casein proteins.
  • Yogurt: It combines whey and casein protein. It is recommended for lactose intolerant people because it has no lactose.
  • Fish and seafood: These are good protein sources and are low in fat. Salmon has higher fat content but contains omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Soya: Soya proteins like soya-based drinks and tofu help in post-recovery, lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Pistachio nuts: Nuts are good sources of proteins when travelling. 50 pistachio nuts provide 6g of protein, potassium, and sodium, which are lost in sweat when exercising.
  • Pork: It is the best source of leucine, which constitutes a third of protein muscles and is essential for muscle repair after exercising.
  • Chicken and turkey: These provide the recommended lean animal protein. It is advisable to remove their skin because it contains saturated fats.
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