WHY IS PROTEIN SO IMPORTANT?
We consistently need good quality protein to grow, maintain, and repair our tissues, hormones, and immune system.
Some people may want to eat more or less protein depending on their preferences and goals, but we all need a bare minimum of protein to prevent issues like:
- losing muscle mass (which can cause a drop in metabolism)
- having skin, hair, and nail problems
- healing more slowly if you get cuts or bruises
- experiencing mood swings
- being more likely to break bones
And unless you have a specific medical reason to keep your protein intake low, most people will benefit from eating more protein.
The benefits of a higher-protein diet include:
- Appetite control: Eating a high-protein diet seems to improve satiety and satisfaction.
- Weight and body composition management: Higher protein intakes may help people eat less when they’re trying to lose fat, increase the number of calories burned through digestion (the thermic effect of food), and retain muscle during fat loss.
- Muscle growth or maintenance: Keeping protein levels high, combined with exercise, helps people gain vital muscle mass and hang onto it over time, especially as they age.
- Improved cardiometabolic health: High protein diets can help lower blood pressure, improve glucose regulation and blood cholesterol, and more.
- Better strength: Higher amounts of protein combined with exercise can aid in strength gains.
- Improved immune function: Proteins are the building blocks of antibodies, and serve several functions in the immune system. People who are protein-deficient are more susceptible to viral and bacterial infections.
- Faster recovery: Higher protein intakes help to repair tissue damaged during exercise, as well as after injury.
Other folks who need more protein than the bare minimum include those who:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Are growing (kids)
- Have a health issue that causes problems with protein absorption
- Are eating a 100 percent plant-based diet.