Proteins are necessary for the regulation, function and structure of all tissues, organs and cells in the body. Protein is made of a combination of amino acids. There are twenty different kinds of amino acids that can be combined to make different proteins. The makeup of each type of protein determines its function, such as antibodies, enzymes, structural components, transport/storage and messenger functions. Let's take a look at ten different benefits of protein.
1. Strong bones – The National Institutes of Health published a review from the University of Connecticut that stated recent studies have found that individuals who consume a high protein diet had greater calcium retention and improved bone density due to protein helping to improve calcium absorption.
2. Healthy immune system – Antibodies are types of proteins that assist in the production of b cells to help fight off an infection. When the body finds an antigen in the body, the immune system responds by sending out antibodies to destroy the bacteria, fungus or virus. When the immune system is strong and healthy, your body can recover quicker from illnesses, injuries or surgery.
3. Glowing skin – Do you want a healthy, youthful appearance? Eat more protein! Protein helps the cells and tissues in the body to regenerate. In order for the body to produce new skin cells, it must have amino acids. These amino acids increase collagen production, which helps to restore healthy skin cells to create a youthful appearance of your skin.
4. Beautiful hair – Protein stimulates hair follicle growth. In fact, this is why many hair products like shampoo, conditioner and hair pomades add protein to their formulas. The hair follicles absorb protein and use it to strengthen hair, prevent split ends and encourage new growth by activating the hepatocyte growth factor. Additionally, hair loss can occur when you do not consume enough protein. When protein is limited, the body stops growing hair and increased hair shedding can occur.
5. Control appetite and cravings – Protein is the most filling type of macronutrients. When you consume protein, the body reduces the hormone ghrelin, which is responsible for hunger pang. Additionally, protein can increase your satiety hormone to help you feel fuller, longer. In fact, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that increasing your protein consumption to 30 percent of your daily calories can help you to consume approximately 450 fewer calories each day, which can help with weight loss.
6. Muscle strength – Protein is the building block for muscle mass. Consuming more protein or taking a protein supplement can improve your strength and increase your muscle mass. This is especially true when you are dieting or doing strength training exercises. The protein binds to the muscles to increase muscle mass and prevent the breakdown of muscles due to dieting.
7. Improve metabolism – Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fat. Increasing your protein consumption can boost metabolism and help you to burn more calories each day. Protein can help to increase your resting metabolism, so you can burn more calories throughout the day. You can further improve your metabolism by getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
8. Lower blood pressure – High blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, stroke and heart attack. Increasing your protein intake can help lower both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In addition to this, a high protein diet can help lower triglyceride levels and lower bad cholesterol levels.
9. Increased energy levels – Protein is a great source of energy especially if you are following a weight loss program. The body breaks down protein into amino acids that supply energy to the body by synthesizing glucose.
10. Balanced hormones – Proteins can help to balance your hormones. Several hormones like growth hormone and insulin are comprised of amino acids. In order to ensure that your hormones are balanced, you need to supply the body with amino acids found in protein.
In order to maintain optimal health, you must consume enough protein in your diet. If enough protein is not consumed, you may experience muscle degradation, anemia and fluid retention. Ensure that you are consuming a variety of proteins by taking a protein supplement and eating both plant-based and animal-based proteins. Increasing your protein consumption will improve your energy levels, lower your blood pressure, balance your hormones and increase immunity.