- Protein is a crucial macronutrient for the proper functioning of the body.
- It is found in blood, tissues, organs, hair, bones, and nails.
- Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are the building blocks of the body.
- Functions of protein include tissue and muscle repair, hormone and enzyme production.
- Protein is considered a macronutrient because the body requires it in large amounts.
- It plays a role in hormone regulation, including insulin, estrogen, and thyroid hormones.
- Inadequate protein intake can lead to various health issues, including immune system problems, bone and muscle weakness, and hormonal imbalances.
- Recommended protein intake varies based on factors like gender, age, physical activity level, and overall health.
- Inadequate protein intake can lead to blood sugar fluctuations, weakness, joint pain, and other health issues.
- Protein is important for muscle growth and tissue repair.
- High-quality sources of protein include eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, cheese, fish, soy products, nuts, seeds, quinoa, and lentils.
- Protein is essential for maintaining healthy skin and managing weight.
- Women, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding, may require higher levels of protein.
- Balancing protein intake is important for overall health and well-being.
- Consulting a nutritionist or doctor can help create a personalized diet plan.
- Consistency in maintaining a balanced diet with adequate protein intake is key for long-term benefits.
Protein and its importance
One thing we cannot forget about physiology is protein’s impact on our beautiful bodies. The tangible relationship between a Macronutrient and our bodily functions is beautiful. Let us discover the various ways protein works.
Do you know our body has thousands of proteins? It is in our blood, tissues, organs, hair, bones, and nails. Oops, so many things comprise our muscles. We have all heard that protein is essential for a fit body. But have you wondered why? Protein is essential for the proper functioning of our body. They are present in almost every part and every process that takes place inside our body. When we digest protein-rich- food, it is broken down into simple components known as amino acids, aka the building blocks of our body. Their duty is the repair of our tissues and muscles. And they also take part in producing hormones, enzymes, etc.
Protein has various benefits and functions; we will get to them soon. We will be talking about everything: protein!
Why is Protein considered a Macronutrient
A macronutrient is important for the body’s functioning, and guess what? You need them in abundance! Our body also needs adequate levels of protein. Almost everything we get is from proteins in our organs, tissues, and muscles. Protein is one of the three nutrients that a human body needs in large amounts.
Protein and its Effect on Hormone Regulation
As already mentioned, proteins are responsible for producing a few hormones. Some of them are estrogen, insulin, thyroid, etc. Fluctuation in protein levels can also cause an imbalance in these hormones. For example, inequality in the thyroid hormone can cause changes in your weight. Insulin imbalance can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
Improper protein intake adversely affects the immune system. Inadequate levels can lead to issues in the overall development and growth of the body: stress fractures, a weakened immune system, and more.
If the right amount of protein is absent in the body, individuals can encounter problems related to thyroid, weight changes, blood sugar, menstrual issues, and more.
What is the recommended protein intake?
The recommended intake level depends on several things:
- Physical activity levels
- Overall health.
The recommended intake for an average adult, who mostly lives an inactive lifestyle, is at least 0.8 grams per kilogram of weight. It is around 46 grams and 50 grams a day for teenage girls and boys, respectively. If a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding, she might require approximately 70 grams or more.
Also Read – The Top Superfoods Every Athlete Should Know
Risk of inadequate protein intake
We have had enough talk about the benefits. Let us concentrate on the risks involved. Inadequate protein intake can cause many changes in our physiology, some of which are here:
- It can bring changes to the blood sugar levels and cause them to fluctuate.
- One can experience bone and muscle weakness or pain in the joints.
- Edema, inflammation, hair and nail problems, changes in appetite.
- Kidney damage, changes in weight, dehydration, and inflammation.
A few diseases are related to protein imbalance, like Marasmus and Kwashiorkor. One can cure uneven protein levels by eating sufficient amounts of protein-rich foods or cutting down on too much protein intake.
Gym rats and their protein love
We have all seen people who go to the gym always talk about protein powders or shakes and their importance for muscle growth.
Do you know why people drink Protein shakes or eat protein bars after exercising? Protein breaks down muscles, repairs, and helps regain muscle mass. It plays an important role in the repair of muscles and tissues.
However, protein powder is not for everyone, so don’t overreact if it suits your friend but not you. And many people can meet their requirements through a balanced diet. Bodybuilders or athletes generally require additional protein sources. Although protein powder is great for people, it still has cons, but it is safe.
Protein powders can be advisable if you exercise but do not build muscles. However, you should try to eat more protein throughout your meals.
How does protein protect us against infections?
Let’s talk about the power protein holds. Protein produces immunoglobulins directly, which are antibodies. They protect us from being infected and keep the immune system safe completely. If your immune levels are low, you are likely to get infected more. It can also cause weakness and fatigue.
Sources of high-quality protein
The protein quality is directly proportional to the amount of amino acids. Some of the high-quality sources of protein are;
- Eggs have lots of protein and vitamins. They are considered the best source.
- Greek yogurt – it is considered a healthy breakfast, and it is said to be rich in protein
- Milk, cheese,
- Soy products
- Fish, salmon
- Peanut butter
- Nuts and seeds
- Quinoa- it is edible is rich in protein and vitamin B
- Lentils- they are a great source of fiber and also contain various mineral
Animal products are indeed the best source of protein. However, do check for allergies or sensitivities. Non-veg and nuts are the most common sources of allergies. Do visit a professional before you make any changes in your diet.
Important benefits of protein
- Muscle growth and development- Our body comprises protein, the most important component to build muscle mass. Amino acids must repair and maintain muscles.
- Tissue repair- Protein is an important member that helps regenerate our tissues. It regulates our appetite, maintains the pH levels in our body, and strengthens our immune system. It helps to renew and repair our cells.
- To maintain healthy skin- Plump and healthy skin is because of collagen. Collagen is essential if you want to keep your skin clear and tight. People who have dry and wrinkled skin have broken down collagen. The best way to improve your collagen levels is with protein-rich meals.
- Healthy weight management- Protein produces hormones like thyroid hormones that can affect your weight. When you have protein-rich meals, they make you feel fuller. Reduce your overall calorie intake. As you are no longer full, you will experience reduced cravings.
Is protein good for women?
A fit body is not possible without protein, and women require equally or, at times, more protein than men. Not balancing your protein levels can cause brittle hair, nails, wrinkled skin, and stress fractures. It also affects the menstrual cycle.
Breastfeeding or pregnant women require more levels of protein. The expansion of muscles inside the woman needs repair. At times, you cannot go without additional protein. It is necessary to ensure that your baby’s skin, bones, and weight are normal.
Some tips to help you balance your protein intake
To balance your protein intake, you must know about your body type, weight, whether you have some diseases or allergies, and more.
- Apart from this, if you want to balance protein in your meals, you can start by including a few grams in your breakfast. You can have peanut butter or add some almonds with toast.
- Try to eat products that are low in fat and carbohydrates
- Choose meals that are high in protein, such as eggs, fish, chicken
- Include nuts and lentils in your daily meals
- If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, having soy products, lentils, nuts and seeds can do well
You must visit a nutritionist or a doctor for a more precise diet.
The benefits of protein is beneficial for our body. It is in our blood; our cells help regeneration, repair, and whatnot. It is quite important to choose high-quality products if you want a change. Do not forget to be mindful of allergies or sensitivities. If you have started exercising or going to the gym, it is best to consult a professional before starting with protein powders or similar substances. Your health is in your hands; take charge and start with baby steps. We hope you realize the importance of protein and begin a balanced diet. You won’t see the changes immediately, but consistency is the key.