Protein, Please! Why Your Body Needs Protein Every Dayon
If you’re at all connected to the world of health and fitness, you’ve probably heard that you need to make sure your body gets enough protein.
But you may be wondering: why? Or how much protein do I need?
We’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’re highlighting the importance of protein in your body. You’ll get to see exactly how this essential building block can help you meet your health goals and enhance your overall wellness.
Let’s dive in!
Breaking it Down
Take a second to look at your fingernails or hair. Did you know you’re looking at mostly protein?
Protein is an essential building block of the body that consists of amino acids, linked by peptide bonds. Proteins make up the majority of your hair, nails and skeletal muscles.
When protein is digested or broken down in the body, a range of amino acids is generated. These amino acids are then used by your body for critical functions like supporting overall growth, repairing tissues, and breaking down food.
From protecting your immune system to increasing your resting metabolic rate, protein is a key component of almost everything your body does.
Unlike vitamins and minerals, which you need in small quantities for total wellness, protein is classified as a macronutrient. This classification means that you need a pretty hefty amount of protein to stay healthy and for optimal performance!
And it’s especially important that your body gets enough protein, because unlike fat or carbohydrates, your body does not store protein. So, if you’re running low your body doesn’t have any protein reserves it can pull from.
You’ll need to fuel your body consistently with quality sources of protein to reap the benefits of this powerful macronutrient and keep your body running smoothly. Protein deficiency can result in physical weakness, vascular dysfunction, impaired immunity, and anemia.
Now that we’ve outlined how protein functions in the body, let’s look at what positive outcomes can happen when your body actually gets the protein it needs.
One important benefits of protein is that it can help increase satiety, or the feeling of being full.
Increased satiety is particularly helpful for individuals looking to maintain or effectively manage their weight. Consuming protein-rich foods on a regular basis can reduce the total amount of calories you consume per day if you eat more protein but less food overall on a daily basis.
Moreover, regularly consuming protein can also increase thermogenesis in the body.
This means that your body will use more energy to break down protein as it’s digested in the body. As opposed to fats or carbohydrates, metabolizing protein actually requires almost twice the amount of energy from your body. By incorporating more protein into your diet, you can actually increase your daily overall caloric burn.
Pretty cool, right?
Protein also has a powerful effect on the health of your muscles.
Proteins provide muscle structure and are present throughout the tissues of your muscles. As such, muscle growth directly relates to the sufficiency of protein in your body. Increasing the amount you eat can help maximize muscle protein synthesis, muscle health, and muscle growth.
To effectively promote muscle growth, you’ll want to establish a balance between the rate of muscle protein synthesis and the breakdown of these muscle proteins. By timing your protein intake carefully, you can tailor your protein to your unique needs and promote muscle growth.
How Much Is Enough?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein in the general population of American adults over 18 is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. You can figure out your own RDA by multiplying your weight in pounds by 0.36.
This allowance represents the minimum amount of protein your body needs to stay healthy and keep from getting sick. But, it’s important to remember that this allowance is not absolute--it only represents the minimum amount you need, not the actual amount you’re supposed to eat every day.
However, if you are an athlete or a very active person, you’ll likely need more protein than the rest of the general population.
Resistance or endurance training can speed up the breakdown of protein. So, a good general rule of thumb is: the more you exercise, the more protein you’ll need to keep your body strong and healthy. For those who exercise regularly, consider consuming between 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to achieve optimal performance and muscle health. So, for a 150-pound person, that’s about 55 grams of protein per day.
But, getting the right amount of protein isn’t the only piece to the puzzle. There are no quick fixes or “life hacks” you can substitute for proper diet and exercise. As you experiment with optimizing your protein intake, always make sure you stay true to the foundations of any great health regimen: balanced eating, strength training, and cardio exercise.
A great way to increase your protein intake on a regular basis is by adding in quality protein bars. Both our Plant-Based Protein Bars and our Whey Protein Bars are rich in protein and feature only natural, top-notch ingredients so you can rise to whatever challenge your day brings.
Already a fan our bars? Share with us your favorite flavor in the comments below!
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