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Macronutrient Series: The Power of Protein!

It seems like protein is being talked about in all health and wellness spaces. Once I started hearing more and more about needing an adequate amount of protein, I started doing some research as to why we needed it, how much we needed, and what to eat to get good sources of protein.

Why is protein so important? What does it do for us?

  • Muscle Growth and Repair: Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, making it particularly important for anyone with an active lifestyle or engaged in regular exercise. When we engage in physical activity, our muscles experience microscopic damage that needs to be repaired. Protein provides the necessary amino acids for this repair process and helps to build lean muscle mass, facilitating strength and recovery.

  • Hormone and Enzyme Production: Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate a variety of bodily functions. Protein is the key player in hormone production, making it fundamental for maintaining hormonal balance. Additionally, enzymes are proteins that facilitate important biochemical reactions in our bodies, including digestion and metabolism. Consuming sufficient protein allows for the proper functioning and production of these vital hormones and enzymes.

  • Appetite Regulation and Weight Management: Protein is well-known for its satiating effect, meaning it helps to keep us feeling full and satisfied after a meal. When we include protein in our diet, it slows down the digestion process and stimulates the release of hormones that control hunger and appetite. By promoting feelings of fullness, protein can assist in weight management by curbing overeating and reducing mindless snacking.

  • Tissue Maintenance and Repair: Our bodies are continuously undergoing cell turnover and tissue renewal. Protein aids in this process by providing the necessary building blocks for new cells. Furthermore, protein supports the maintenance of healthy skin, hair, and nails, promoting their strength and vitality. Including sufficient protein in our diet ensures that our bodies have the resources to continuously repair and maintain our tissues.

  • Immune System Support: Protein plays a crucial role in the functioning of our immune system. Antibodies, which help us fight off infections and diseases, are made of protein. Protein also assists in the production of immune cells that protect the body against harmful pathogens. A deficiency in protein can compromise our immune system's effectiveness, making us more susceptible to illness and infection.

What are good sources of protein?

Choosing High-Quality Protein Sources: It is important to select high-quality protein sources to maximize the benefits. Lean meats, poultry, fish, and plant-based options like legumes, nuts, seeds, and tofu are excellent sources of protein. These options provide a wide range of amino acids necessary for the body's optimal functioning. By diversifying our protein sources, we ensure we obtain all the essential amino acids required for overall health.

how much protein do you need?

The Right Balance: While protein is vital for our health, it is essential to maintain a balanced approach to nutrition. The right amount of protein for YOU will depend on your level of activity, gender, and weight. It will also depend on your health and fitness goals. Note: consuming excessive amounts of protein can strain the kidneys and potentially lead to health issues.

To get a baseline use this calculator. Please note: when making any drastic changes to your diet make sure to consult with a healthcare professional.

Protein plays an integral role in the functioning of our bodies and is essential for muscle growth, tissue repair, hormone production, appetite regulation, and immune system support. By including high-quality protein sources in our diet, we can enjoy the numerous benefits of this macronutrient. Remember to aim for balance and consider your individual needs when determining the ideal protein intake.

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