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Are you getting enough protein in your diet?

 

While you may watch your calories, sugar and salt intake, you should also make sure you are ingesting enough protein. It plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of every cell in our bodies. It fuels our cells and powers our bodies. It’s recommended to consume 0.36g per pound of your body weight (body weight x 0.36 = grams of protein per day).

Daily protein intake plays a role in keeping your cells in good shape and should be part of your daily health maintenance plan. Protein is made up of amino acids, commonly known as building blocks, because they are attached in long chains. It is also considered a “macronutrient,” meaning that you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. The complexity of protein has the body working harder and longer to break down through digestion. Protein has a higher thermogenic effect than the other macro-nutrients meaning, more energy is expended during digestion and we actual burn more calories breaking down protein than fats or carbohydrates.  Eating protein at each meal or snack will keep us full longer, stabilize our blood sugar and provide us with sustainable energy to get us through the day. 

Why Your Body Needs Protein:

Here are five compelling reasons why you should make sure you are getting enough protein every day:

  1. Build. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage and skin. In fact, your hair and nails are comprised mostly of protein.
  2. Repair. Your body uses it to build and repair tissue.
  3. Oxygenate. Red blood cells contain a protein compound that carries oxygen throughout the body. This helps supply your entire body with the nutrients it needs.
  4. Digest. About half the dietary protein that you consume each day goes into making enzymes, which aids in digesting food, and making new cells and body chemicals.
  5. Regulate. Protein plays an important role in hormone regulation, especially during the transformation and development of cells during puberty.

How Protein Can Help You Stay In Shape:

Eating high-protein foods has many fitness benefits, including:

  • Speeding recovery after exercise and/or injury
  • Reducing muscle loss
  • Building lean muscle
  • Helping maintain a healthy weight
  • Curbing hunger

Protein plus fiber keeps us full longer, which means you don’t feel the urge to eat as often. This helps keep weight down while fueling our cells with the right nutrients they need.

The next time you reach for a piece of fruit for a snack like an apple or banana, try grabbing a handful of mixed nuts or nut butter like peanut or almond to pair with it.  You'll be sure to feel the energy boosting difference!