25 Health Benefits of Eating More Protein Foods
Protein foods are very important to our body and overall health. Protein foods are responsible for keeping our metabolism going, stabilizing our blood sugar, and boosting our energy up. These protein foods are also effective in preventing weight gain because they make us feel full and the body requires more work to digest the food. Once the protein is introduced into the body, it will be used by every single cell for several key functions. Protein is used for building muscle mass, aids in digestion, supports neurological functions, balance hormones naturally, and uplifts our mood.
Importance of Protein Food
Proteins are long chains of amino acids that can be found in many different types of food. The highest sources of protein are meat, eggs, dairy, fish, and some plant foods like beans and seeds. Protein is important because it is being used every day to keep your body going. It is used in every part of your body, from your skin and hair to your digestive and immune system. Without enough protein in your body, you tend to become weak, sluggish, and tired. Your metabolism also becomes slower, which makes you gain weight. Proteins in your body are constantly being broken down so it must be replaced, and the best way to replace lost proteins is to consume protein foods.
What Happens When You Lack Protein?
- Sluggish metabolism
- Difficulty in building muscle mass
- Difficulty in losing weight
- Low energy levels, tiredness, and fatigue
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Weak immunity
- Changes in blood sugar level that can lead to diabetes
- Muscle, bone, and joint pains
- Slow wound healing
Protein Foods We Should Eat Every Day
It is important to eat a variety of high protein foods because these proteins or amino acids that can be found in these foods are all unique and have different functions in the body. Animal foods are considered as complete protein foods, so those who are following a vegetarian or vegan diet might be missing out on some important amino acids. A number of proteins that a person should consume usually depends on their needs. Sometimes, it depends on the person’s age, gender, body weight, and daily level of activity. There are also some health conditions that have to be considered, which requires the person to consume more or fewer protein foods than the average person. Athletes need to consume more proteins that will give them energy and help them with their performance. There is a general protein guideline that you can follow if you want to have a complete dose of protein every day. According to the USDA, the recommended daily intake of proteins for adults with an average activity level and body weight is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. This is the minimum amount of protein that you can follow each day, assuming that you don’t have any serious health conditions. It is best to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day, rather than eating large amounts in just one meal. This will give you just the right amount of protein that can be used by your body at any given time. It is also effective to eat more protein foods during your time of exercise or high activity because it will give you energy and help build muscle mass.
Top Protein Foods to Include In Your Diet
- Grass-Fed Beef – 3 ounces or 19 grams of beef can provide 46% DV of proteins
- Whey Protein – ¼ cup or 19 to 20 grams
- Lentils – one cup or 18 grams provide 36% DV of proteins
- Wild Fish – 3 ounces or 17 grams provide 40% DV of proteins
- Organic Chicken – 1 chicken breast is equal to 38% DV of proteins
- Black Beans – 1 cup or 15 grams of black beans
- Natto – ½ cup or 15 grams of Natto
- Raw Milk – 1 cup or 8 grams of raw milk provides 16% DV of proteins
- Kefir or Yogurt – 6 ounces or 6 to 9 grams provide 16% DV of proteins
- Free-Range Eggs – 1 large egg or 7 grams is equal to 14% DV of proteins
- Raw Cheese – 1-ounce goat cheese or 7 grams provide 14% DV of proteins
Vegan Protein: Top Vegan & Vegetarian Protein Sources
25 Health Benefits of Protein Foods
Improves Muscle Mass
Your body needs enough proteins to build and maintain healthy muscle mass. Protein can also support your ligaments, tendons, and other body tissues. One of the most common symptoms of protein deficiency is muscle atrophy, which takes place when there is not enough protein, so the body turns to your muscle fibers and breaks it down to support your energy needs. This condition makes it difficult for you to build muscle mass. Consuming protein foods is also important after finishing a strenuous exercise or strength training because the proteins can help repair and grow the damaged muscle tissues. You need to consume extra proteins for muscle repair to work. The protein may not directly improve any athletic performance, but it has been proven that it can increase muscle recovery, treats muscle aches, and promotes muscle synthesis. You may have noticed that most athletes and bodybuilders always try to include more proteins into their daily diet. Putting more amino acids into the body can improve your muscle mass and help you lose weight. Read more – Muscle Building Protein Shakes Recipes
Manage Your Weight
Protein foods can help you lose weight because it can easily make you feel full, thus preventing you from eating more. According to studies, protein foods are more effective in delivering satiety than carbohydrates or fats. People who consume more protein foods have more control over their diet and do not overeat. It is actually much easier to overeat on carbohydrates, especially if they are sweetened or refined than overeat on protein foods. Protein requires more energy to digest. Eating protein foods creates a process in the body called thermogenesis, which requires your body to burn calories and expend energy when digesting the food. So this means that instead of putting more calories into your body, protein foods are helping you burn those calories. If you are doing the low-calorie diet to lose weight, this means that you are at risk of losing muscle mass. By consuming protein foods, you can lose weight without having to lose muscle mass. This makes protein foods one of the best when it comes to weight-loss diet.
Manage Your Blood Sugar Levels
If your family has a history of diabetes, or you think taking too much sugar can be bad for your health, then you should consider eating more protein foods. Eating foods that are rich in protein has very minimal effect on the blood glucose level, and it can even slow down the absorption of sugar during your meal. Protein foods can help prevent any dangerous spike of blood sugar level, which is critical in stopping the development of type 2 diabetes. Eating high carbohydrate and high sugar foods can result in serious fluctuations in blood sugar levels but protein foods do the opposite. Carbohydrates require more insulin than protein or fat to be metabolized. So it is better to avoid high-carbs and fatty foods because they are not good for your blood glucose. Instead of sweets, you should cook more beef, organic chicken, wild fish, lentils, black beans, and eggs in your daily diet.
Enhances Your Mood
There are some amino acids that are capable of controlling your mood, balancing your hormones, and treating your anxiety. With the help of proteins, the body can synthesize positive hormones like dopamine and serotonin to keep you calm and happy. If you lack protein in your diet, you can experience frequent moodiness and increased anxiety. There will be signs of depression and you will feel weak. Since protein can stabilize the blood glucose level, this prevents cravings and irritability brought about by the blood sugar fluctuations. Moodiness, anxiety, and depression can affect your overall health. It would be difficult for you to start your health regimen because you don’t feel like doing it. Perhaps you just need a daily serving of protein foods to perk you up and keep you feeling positive.
Read more – Stress Effects On The Body, Yoga Poses For Anxiety And Stress
Maintain Stronger Bones
Protein foods are closely linked to better bone health. The combination of proteins and bone-building nutrients like calcium and magnesium are proven to give you healthy bones. By choosing a diet of high protein and nutrient-rich foods, you are making your bones stronger. Protein foods can help prevent bone weakness and fractures, and they can also heal broken bones. You can lower the risk of osteoporosis because protein foods help in calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Studies have shown that elderly people tend to have weaker bones because they eat fewer protein foods. Most elderly people only consume up to 50 grams of protein per day, which is quite low. This is why it is important to take calcium and vitamin supplements, as well as healthy foods, as you grow older to maintain your overall health. It is also proven that low level of protein in the body reduces the insulin-growth factor production, which has a negative effect on the phosphate and calcium metabolism of the bones and bone formation. Read more – High Protein Foods: Top Meatless Protein Foods
Promotes Better Functioning of the Brain
When your brain function is working perfectly, this means that you can have better memory retention and learning is much easier and faster. Concentration and focus are also improved, which can help you a lot when you are taking an exam. Proteins are very important because they are needed to make enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters that are vital for cognitive brain function. This is the reason why eating a healthy and complete breakfast in the morning can deliver a sharper mind throughout the day.
Your brain needs a steady supply of amino acids or protein in order to keep your focus, concentration, and energy levels at an optimal level. This also means that when the brain is deprived of protein, your learning and coordination skills will definitely suffer. However, once you eat protein foods again and all the necessary amino acids are reintroduced to your body, your learning, and motor skills greatly improve once again. You may have noticed that it is difficult for you to concentrate and study when you are hungry because there are not enough amino acids in your brain to help it function properly.
Promotes Heart Health
Heart disease is a very serious health condition that should not be ignored. In order to have better heart health, most experts recommend that you stay away from fatty foods and junk foods that can only raise your cholesterol level. Many doctors would also recommend several protein foods to include in your diet to prevent high blood pressure. There have been several studies linking protein foods as a natural remedy for high blood pressures. The reason behind this is because protein foods have the tendency to balance the blood sugar, which results in preventing heart-related diseases, including diabetes and extreme weight gain or obesity. Also, if your diet is composed of carbohydrate foods, it is better to replace it with protein foods in order to lower the bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Slows Down Aging and Promote Longevity
Adequate protein intake is needed for the proper maintenance of glutathione to help the body stay in a state of balanced homeostasis. Glutathione can be found in the cells and it is responsible for the body’s detoxification and fights off the carcinogens that age the body. With the help of proteins, your body can easily synthesize glutathione. When there is a lack of glutathione in the body, it contributes to oxidative stress, which can result in age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, viral infections, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia. Lack of protein for the elderly can result in other age-related diseases such as cataracts, muscle loss, heart disease, mood swings, and weakness. Protein can also slow down the aging process by treating and preventing muscle loss and keeping muscles mass intact. Protein can make you feel younger because it supports stronger bones and maintains high cognitive and immune function.
As you get older, your body becomes less efficient when it comes to synthesizing amino acids, which is the main reason why older people need to consume more protein foods. The protein-rich foods can help you maintain a healthy body weight, keep your mind sharp, makes you more energetic, and builds up your strength and balance. You feel younger and much better inside and out. Read more – Super Foods – 10 Food To Increase Longevity
Promotes Cell and Tissue Regeneration
The regeneration and renewal of cells and tissues in your body are very important to maintain a good overall health. The body has to be supplied constantly with amino acids that can help with the manufacture of new cells and tissues such as your skin, hair, and nails. If you want shinier hair, stronger nails, and softer and younger looking skin, then you need more protein in your diet to boost the cell and tissue regeneration within your body. The cells that are inside your digestive system, blood, and skin only last for a couple of weeks and needs to be replaced. With the help of proteins, the body can create and replenish new and much healthier cells to replace the ones that perished. This process of regular cell replenishment within the body is a sign of good health.
Helps Boost Your Metabolism and Increases Burning of Fat
When you eat breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is natural for the body to increase its metabolism but just for a short while. That’s because the body uses energy and burn calories to digest and use the nutrients in the food. This process is known as the thermic effect of food or TEF. However, not all the foods are the same when it comes to TEF. Protein foods have a much higher thermic effect which is about 20 to 35%, compared to fats or carbohydrate foods which are only 5 to 15%. Having a high protein diet has been proven to greatly improve the rate of metabolism and increase the number of calories that you burn. By consuming protein foods, you are burning 80 to 100 more calories every day. A study was conducted between two groups of people and the result showed that the high protein group burned at least 260 more calories each day than the other group that consumed less protein. The burning of 260 calories is equivalent to one hour of moderate to intense workout in one day. Read more – Top Detox Water Metabolism-Boosting Recipes
Stronger Joints and Tendons
More protein intake does not only benefit the muscles, but it is also beneficial to your joints and tendons. High protein diet means that your body can accelerate the repair of tissues and connective tissues to prevent any serious injuries. The body contains collagen protein that helps in sustaining bone health. This type of protein can help prevent joint and tendon injuries for individuals who are doing heavy exercises and long workouts. When the body’s ability to produce collagen is not compromised, then you would definitely have a stronger and healthier joint and tendons. In addition, it has been found that high amino acid intake can prevent muscle atrophy caused by being too idle and immobile. With more protein in your system, you can recover your original strength level after going through an injury.
Older people tend to have so many joint problems and aches, which stops them from doing exercises or any physical activities. They are also prone to injuries, especially bone fractures. It is recommended to take a high protein diet to strengthen their joints and tendons and prevent serious injuries in the future.
Develop Better Strength Gains
Developing your strength can be achieved through continuous training and regular workout. High intake of protein or amino acids is beneficial for those who are doing strength training because it can help boost your strength gains. A study was made regarding athletes who were consuming 2 kg per day of protein for 12 weeks. The results showed that the athletes had an increase of 14.3 kg maximum squat strength. This showed how protein can make you get more strength gains. The reason behind this greater strength gains is more probably the combination of muscle mass growth and faster recovery from the wear and tear of strength training. More muscle mass and faster recovery will definitely put more strength into your muscles. Developing strength is not only vital for athletes and weightlifters, but it is also critical for the older generation. Balanced protein intake can help bring some of their strength back but it has to be combined with regular exercise and active lifestyle.
Helps Lower Food Cravings and Late-Night Snacks
Protein foods are the ideal food group for people who want to lose weight and trim off excess fats. Protein foods can help lower your food cravings, which help you avoid overeating. There is a big difference between normal hunger and food craving. Normal hunger is the basic reaction of your body when it needs nutrients and energy. Food cravings are not really about hunger, but it is more about your brain needs to be rewarded and satisfied. Unfortunately, these food cravings are very hard to control. The best way to overcome these cravings may be to prevent them from happening in the first place. You can help prevent your cravings if you eat more protein foods. Studies have shown that overweight men who increased their protein intake by 25% and reduced their calories have drastically reduced their food craving by 60%. It also reduced their desire for late night snacking. This also works for women who tried eating high protein breakfast every day. Just eating high-protein diet can have a powerful effect on the brain hormone that is responsible for cravings and addiction.
Stronger Immune System
Proteins are very important in building a strong immune system. Your immune system consists of antibodies that help protect the internal organs from various infections and diseases. These antibodies are a form of protein that has the ability to find and detect foreign elements in the body known as antigens. When antigens are detected, the body responds by producing specific antibodies and then deactivates it. Some proteins involved in the immune system are just waiting to be deployed but other proteins are synthesized on the spot as the need arises. So if you want a stronger immune system that can prevent viral diseases such as the common colds and flu, you better improve your regular protein intake. Aside from proteins, getting your daily dose of vitamin C and regular exercise can greatly improve your immune system.
Help You Get Fit as You Grow Older
As the body ages, the muscles tend to shrink and become smaller. This muscle loss is referred to as age-related sarcopenia and it can cause several health problems such as bone fractures, frailty, and reduced quality of life as you grow older. You want to maintain your health and keep your body youthful with lots of energy. Protein is needed to reduce muscle wasting or muscle loss that is commonly associated with the middle-aged people and the elderly. The best way to prevent the age-related sarcopenia is to practice a high protein diet. This type of healthy diet should be partnered with regular exercise and lifting weights. Resistance exercise is also recommended to keep your body fit even in old age.
Read more – Daily Workout Plan: The Workout Routine That Will Keep You Fit
It has been observed that putting more protein foods into your daily diet can help improve your sleep quality. This means that the frequent waking up in the middle of the night will be reduced and you can have a deeper and more restorative sleep. The reason behind the improvement of sleep quality is because protein can optimize the chemical transmitter balance, which makes you more awake and energized during the day, but sleepy and more restful at night time. When you have more energy during the day, you have a higher chance of being tired and sleepy in the evening. However, sleep improvement due to high protein intake may not happen to everyone. There are some people who will still experience difficulty in sleeping at night despite increasing their protein intake. If this happens to you, the best remedy is to eat carbs in the evening to make you feel sleepy. Carbs can elevate the serotonin level, which is responsible for calming your mind and makes you tired and sleepy. Read more – How Long Should A Nap Be, Insomnia: Foods That Will Help You Sleep At Night
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Taking more protein foods is great for lowering blood pressures. This is beneficial for people who are suffering from hypertension and other heart diseases. A trial was conducted, wherein researchers found that increased protein intake lowered the systolic blood pressure by an average of 1.76 mmHg, and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.15 mmHg. There was also a 4-week experiment given to two groups of people, and one group was provided an extra 60 grams of protein per day. The group that took the extra protein every day for 4 weeks decreased their average systolic blood pressure reading by 4.9 mmHg and the diastolic by 2.7 mmHg. This means a huge decrease in blood pressure, which can be helpful for overall health. These experiments and trials show that you can maintain your health and keep your blood pressure at a safe level by just practicing a high protein diet. The drastic decrease of blood pressure is very surprising and it is as if the people involved are taking medications for hypertension.
Healthier Hair and Skin
Having a healthy hair and skin is important to improve your beauty and make you look young again. There are certain foods that can make your skin look oily, and there are also foods that can make your hair dry and damaged. Protein foods are known to provide great benefits for your hair and skin. Most beauty products include protein in their ingredients to make their shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and lotions effective. In terms of hair care, protein is being advertised as a modulator for hair growth. Since hair is made up of proteins, it is natural that you should have high protein intake to give your hair a healthy boost. Your skin also needs to be replenished with protein inside out. Everyone knows that the skin is susceptible to the daily wear and tear. Your skin can get dry when exposed to the elements or it can develop rashes and allergies. The skin depends on collagen for the health and strength of its cell. A collagen is a form of fibrous protein that needs to be revitalized regularly to help the skin gain its youthful appearance. By replenishing your body with proteins, you are helping your skin gain more levels of collagen protein. This results in a much healthier, smoother, and blemish-free skin. Read More – Skin Food: Top Skin Clearing Foods
Speedier Recovery from Injuries
If you are the type of person who easily gets injured or constantly gets cuts and wounds, then eating protein foods can provide you with a much faster recovery. The reason behind this is because most tissues, cells, and organs have proteins as one of their main building blocks. Replenishing these proteins is a good way to speed up the recovery time of any cuts or wounds. In terms of muscle tear, having higher protein intake can help rebuild and reconnect the ligaments, muscles, and tissues. This is the reason why most athletes and bodybuilders consume more protein because they can get back to their training without any muscle aches and pains. The faster recovery time also helps in building muscle mass.
Helps Keep Off Fat in the Long Term
It is proven that eating protein foods can help you lose weight. It has been mentioned here that protein can reduce your food cravings and make you feel fuller so you don’t overeat. However, many people who have successfully trimmed down their weight were able to regain some excess fat after a few months because they stopped their high-protein diet. You need to continue with your protein diet in order to keep off the fats for the long term. Maintaining the lost weight is always quite a challenge. This is the reason why most people fail, but if you continue with a modest increase in protein intake, you can significantly reduce your weight regain. So if you want to prevent obesity or huge weight gain in the future, you should consider having a healthier diet composed mainly of protein foods and other nutritious meals. Read More – Workout Plans: Fat Burning Workout in 15 minutes
Protein Will Not Harm Healthy Kidneys
Some people believe that eating more protein can harm the kidneys. It is true that those suffering from kidney problems are not allowed to have a high-protein diet. This should be followed by people with kidney problems because this is a very serious health condition. However, while high protein is restricted for people who suffer from kidney problems, it does not mean that it is also true for those who have normal and healthy kidneys. There have been several studies proving that protein foods have no harmful effects on people with healthy kidneys or free from kidney disease. In order to make sure you don’t have any problems with your kidney, you can consult your doctor for a regular check-up. Once you’re cleared, you can continue with your high-protein diet.
Helps Build Lean Muscles
Eating protein foods do not only give you more muscle mass and trims the fat away, but it also helps you build up more lean muscles to make you look fit. If you condition your body for intense and heavy workouts, combined with a high-protein diet, then you are on your way towards building leaner muscles. Don’t forget to limit your carbohydrate intake to help the body burn off more fat. A recent study has shown that eating a high protein diet, even while on a calorie-reduced diet, still results in a fat-free mass.
Increase Bone Density
High protein diet not only promotes bone health but it also increases your bone density, which makes it stronger and less susceptible to injuries. Also, more bone density means that there is a lower chance of developing osteoporosis. There is a rumor saying that protein may be bad for your bones, but it is just a myth and it is not true. Some people misunderstood the inner workings of protein and bones. Protein has the ability to increase acid in the body. The acid is then neutralized when the body releases bicarbonate ions coming from the bones, which is then accompanied by a loss of calcium, sodium, and potassium. This process popularized the myth that protein is bad for your bones. This may look bad at first, but studies have shown that higher protein intake can actually build up bone density. The amino acids in proteins can actually build bones to make it stronger. If you don’t want the acid effect of protein when building bone density, you can eat a lot of vegetables and fruits that contain antioxidants to counter the acid load.
Promotes Growth for Babies and Children
Protein is very important for our bodies for maintaining health and repair of muscles and tissues, but it is also needed by babies and toddlers to support them with their growth and development. Babies grow fast, so they need more protein per pound of body weight compared to the older kids. This is the reason why baby milk and baby foods are fortified with lots of nutrition, including proteins, to help them reach their full growth potential. The tissues and body organs of kids and babies are constantly growing and they are mostly made up of proteins. By eating more protein foods, the tissues are replenished with proteins to help maintain their health. The protein foods recommended for children are meat or chicken three to four times a week. Two or more portions of fish should be given each week, and one of which should be an oily fish like tuna, salmon, or sardines. For breakfast, cheese and eggs are a good source of protein for kids.
Aids in Protein Synthesis for the Older Adults
When you grow older, the protein synthesis is not as efficient as before. As the body ages, it cannot synthesize enough proteins to help maintain the regular functions of the body. This means that the middle-aged people and the elders are more prone to protein deficiency. This is where protein foods come in. Health experts recommend more protein for older people because their body cannot synthesize the right amount of protein. They need more protein coming from their food to complete their daily requirement. Those who are already in their 40s should start having high protein diet to maintain a good overall health.
Points to Remember When Eating Protein Foods
Regular consumption of proteins combined with other foods packed with enough nutrients is most recommended by doctors and health experts. The amount of protein that a person should consume on a daily basis will depend on his or her individual health condition and age. If you don’t have any serious health conditions, then 2 to 3 servings of protein foods are enough to satisfy your daily requirements. However, you have to consider some factors if you are planning to have a high-protein diet. If you consume too much protein, there is a possibility that you are increasing the pro-inflammatory gut bacteria, because bad bacteria can feed off from the amino acids. In order to counter this effect, you can combine protein foods with fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, and certain grains to promote good gut bacteria. Protein can cause acid and oxidative stress, but you can counter this effect by eating vegetables and fruits that contain high levels of antioxidants. You should not cook meat at very high temperature because this can result in the production of cancer-causing compounds. Just use moderate heat and longer cooking time for meat and other protein foods.