Protein is one of the classes of food that we have and our bodies need more of it to stay healthy. It is also a critical part of the processes that fuel our energy and carry oxygen throughout our body in our blood.
It also helps make antibodies that fight off infections and illnesses and helps keep cells healthy and create new ones.
Also, it is a part of every cell in the body and it helps the body to build and repair cells and tissues. Likewise, it is a major component of the skin, muscle, bone, organs, hair, and nails.
Not getting enough protein in your diet can lead to health issues. For example, tissue can break down and lead to muscle loss.
Furthermore, after the age if 40, you start to lose muscle mass, a condition known as “sarcopenia”, and you may need more protein.
There are various sources of protein and it could be plant based or animal based sources.
Plant based means that the protein source is gotten from plants. Animal based sources are gotten from animals as well as their by-products too.
Examples of high quality plant based sources of protein includes;
2 Legumes like beans, peas, or lentils
3 Grains like wheat, rice and corn
Examples of animal based sources of protein includes;
3 Lean beef or pork
5 Dairy products
Combining large amounts of plant based with smaller portions of animal based sources ensures one is getting enough amino acids.
The amount of protein an individual needs depends on their age and the sex.
Based on research and also as a dietary guideline, there is an amount needed for consumption for various age groups.
According to the United states department of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, the following daily amounts of protein are recommended:
1 Children under age 4 requires 13 grams
2 Children ages 4 to 8 requires19 grams
3 Children ages 9 to 13 requires 34 grams
4 Women and girls ages 14 and above requires 46 grams
5 Boys ages 14 to 18 requires 52 grams
6 Men ages 19 and above requires 56 grams.
However, if one does not consume up to the required amount of protein the body needs, then deficiency occurs.
In a severe case of the deficiency, kwashiorkor sets in as a result of malnutrition.
Symptoms of protein deficiency include:
1 Delayed or stunted growth
2 Loss of muscle mass
3 Edema (swelling of the feet due to excess fluid inside the body tissues).
4 Thinning hair
Reasons To Ensure That Protein Is a Must In Your Diet.
1 It Reduces Appetite and Hunger Levels
Protein is the most filling compared to carbohydrates and fats. Since a high protein diet reduces hunger, helping you eat fewer calories.
This also is partly because it reduces your level of the hunger hormone known as “ghrelin“.
If you are planning on loosing belly fats, you should consider replacing some of your carbohydrates and fats with protein.
It can be as simple as making your rice serving smaller while adding a few extra bites of meat, fish or even beans.
2 It Increases Muscle Mass and Strength
Protein is the building block of your muscles and its adequate consumption helps you to increase and maintain your muscle mass. It also promotes muscle growth.
For the physically active people and the weight lifters, eating protein helps to increase their muscles and strength
3 It helps in blood clotting as well as helping in maintaining body fluid balance
4 It Reduces Cravings and Desire for Late Night Snacking
Cravings can be incredibly hard to control and the best way to overcome them may be to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
One of the best prevention methods is to increase your protein intake.
5 It is important for growth and development, especially during childhood, adolescence, and during pregnancy.
6 It Lowers Your Blood Pressure
Higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure.
It also lowers the risk of having strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease often caused by high blood pressure.
7 It Helps Maintain Weight Loss
Increasing your intake helps in weight loss as well as maintaining the weight over time.
A high protein diet boosts metabolism and leads to an automatic reduction in calorie intake and cravings. So, increasing your intake causes you to lose weight almost instantly.
If you want to keep off excess weight, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.
8 It Helps Your Body Repair Itself After Injury
Protein is known as the main building blocks of your tissues and organs. Hence, it helps the body repair after it has been injured.
So, eating more protein can help you recover faster if you’ve been injured in one way or the other.
9 It Helps You Stay Fit as You Age
As you age, the muscles gradually weakens, especially from age 40 upwards.
So, consuming more protein is one of the best ways to reduce muscle deterioration associated with aging.