The first thing that comes to mind when we talk about protein consumption is bodybuilders, as they constantly promote food supplements or drinks with high protein content to build muscles. But, contrary to popular belief, protein is not only good for building muscles.
Protein is made up of amino acids that the body needs to repair hair, skin, muscles and bones. In addition, certain proteins are necessary for the body to produce the needed hormones that help the organs and cells communicate. That’s why it is important to add foods high in protein to your diet, as they are beneficial to your overall health.
What Is Protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient for building muscle mass that, when digested, protein breaks down into essential amino acids. Enzymes are also made up of proteins that make the chemical reaction and the hemoglobin that carries the oxygen in our blood. They are essential as we need to consume them through diet since our body cannot produce them. Protein is present in muscle, bones, hair and virtually every part of your body.
What Happens to Your Body When Experiencing a Protein Deficiency?
Our bodies cannot store protein, so we need to consume protein daily to avoid protein deficiency. A protein deficit can negatively affect the body in various ways, including muscle loss, fatigue and a weakened immune system. A lack of protein can also lead to hair loss and slowed down healing.
People at a greater risk of protein deficiency are seniors aged 70 or above, who are having a hard time consuming meat products, and people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets and don’t consume animal products. In severe cases, a protein deficiency can cause edema or fluid retention. If you think you may be experiencing a protein deficit, it’s vital to see a doctor or registered dietitian for help.
How Protein Benefits the Body
Protein is an essential nutrient that your body needs for proper function. It is especially beneficial for athletes and people trying to lose weight, as it can help burn fat and build muscle. It also assists the healing process when you get an injury.
What High-protein Foods Should I Add to My Diet?
Chicken is a fantastic, easy-to-cook source of protein. It also contains several essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and iron.
Fish such as salmon, cod and tuna are a healthy source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, with countless benefits for the brain. For example, healthy unsaturated fats can lower beta-amyloid blood levels that form damaging clumps in the brain.
Eggs are a versatile and nutritious source of protein that’s easy to absorb. Eggs are packed with selenium and vitamins B12 and A, and they also contain essential nutrients like choline, which helps improve memory.
#4: Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is low in fat and calories but high in protein. It also contains various nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, selenium and vitamin B12.
#5: Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium, both of which are important for maintaining brain health. Adding these high-protein foods to your diet can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease and keep your brain healthy.
A Parting Reminder
Adding protein to your diet is a fantastic way to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle. For optimal results, it’s best to consume a combination of lean animal protein and plant-based protein, coupled with a good amount of exercise to build the muscles. Anything in excess is bad for you, so avoid a very high protein diet if you don’t want to strain your kidneys. Instead, you can incorporate these high-protein foods into your current diet or contact your local dietician to develop the best diet plan for you.