From news headlines to diet books, celebrities to fitness gurus - everyone seems to believe one thing. That protein is in, while fats and carbohydrates are out. But is protein really as important as you might be led to think? Is it really an integral part of your diet and nutrition? Fortunately, yes!
One of the few diet trends (protein shakes, protein bars, protein bites, the list goes on…..) that *isn't* overrated - adding protein to your diet in healthy ways has endless benefits for your body. Without this incredibly important nutrient, you wouldn't even be able to build, maintain and repair your body's tissues!
In this article, we break down 8 Science-Backed Health Benefits Of Protein:
Boosts Muscle Mass and Strength
We all know this one. Protein is your best friend if you wish to gain muscle mass. It’s the building block of all muscles, and an increased protein intake generally means more muscle. When you're spending all that time lifting and training, protein is what you need to consume to meet your goals.
Numerous studies show that protein not only helps increase muscle mass, but also plays a major part in increasing strength. Furthermore, if you’re exercising or dieting to lose weight, you will need a higher protein intake to ensure that you don’t lose your muscle mass.
Controls Your Appetite
Protein offers a fantastic method of controlling your appetite. Eating more protein brings down the concentration of ghrelin, a hormone in your bloodstream that drives hunger. Moreover, protein also stimulates peptide YY level, a hormone that makes you feel fuller. In fact, studies have shown that higher protein intake (30% daily) decreases the number of calories older women take during a day. Hence, higher protein intake can help tremendously during those testing diets, as it helps you eat less and feel full longer.
Increases Bone Strength
Bone strength is often linked to calcium, but higher protein intake is perceived to be bad for the bones since an increased acid load leaches calcium from the bones. Fortunately, this is a myth! In fact, numerous studies show quite the contrary: that protein has a link with higher bone mass in later life, and also reduces the risk of bone fractures and diseases such as osteoporosis.
Reduces Cravings and Late-Night Snacking
It's everyone's worst enemy. That late night craving you just can't push at the back of your mind and go to sleep. Cravings and late-night snacks are more about pleasure than hunger. Your brain desires them as a reward rather than as nutrient. To stop yourself from doing it, increase your protein intake! Studies show that overweight men with boosted protein intake of 25% of daily calories had their cravings reduced by 60% and their late-night snacking by half. This ties in with the increase of peptide YY caused by protein, making you feel full enough to not desire snacks.
Who doesn't want a lightning-fast metabolism? Healthy food generally do boost metabolism. However, not all foods and nutrients have the same effect. The good thing is, proteins are far more adept at making your body use calories to digest food. In a phenomenon called Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) - you're able to have a higher rate of metabolism as a consequence of consuming protein. Protein performs better at TEF than both fats and carbs, making it the ideal diet. And the fact that you burn more fats simply by eating. It's a win-win sort of situation!
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major health issue that is responsible for many heart diseases. Increasing protein intake is a great way to fight it. Studies show that protein reduces systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure significantly. Protein also helps reduce the amount of cholesterol, triglycerides, and unwanted LDLs in your bloodstream - helping combat heart issues and blocked blood vessels.
While protein does offer help in losing weight, it also helps with maintaining it. Maintaining weight is an issue since calorie restrictions and diets cannot go on forever. However, you can supplement for that with increased protein intake. Protein keeps you from consuming excess calories and helps you feel full and perform capably through reduced calorie intake. Hence, protein intake offers a fantastic method of keeping your weight in check without calorie restrictions.
Helps in Injury Repair
We've already mentioned how proteins are the building blocks of muscles. In fact, they are the building blocks of all life since our cells rely on them to divide and grow. Hence, whenever our cells are damaged or lost due to injury, proteins are what we need to recover. After any injury or illness, the damage suffered by our body can be supplemented with an increased protein intake which helps the cells repair themselves and divide. Not only will the existing cells get stronger, but the dead ones will also be replaced at an accelerated rate.
With an abundance of health benefits to offer, it's easy to say that protein deserves way more room on your plate. Looking for some great protein options to help kick start your health and fitness, then check out Rally Point Nutrition!