Why is Protein Crucial to a Healthy Diet?
When it comes to things like fat, calories, and carbohydrates, people have many differing opinions. One thing we can all agree on, however, is that protein is an absolutely essential component of a healthy diet. And while the majority of people consume enough protein to prevent deficiency, there are a number of science-backed reasons why increasing that intake could be even more beneficial. If you’re not maximizing your protein levels, here are a few reasons you may want to reconsider.
Protein can help you eat less.
Studies have shown that protein can have an impact on appetite and hunger levels, helping us to feel full without having to eat more food. Part of this reason is that protein reduces the body’s level of the hunger hormone called ghrelin while boosting the hormone peptide YY, thereby increasing satiety. In other words, eating more proteins (preferably plant-based) can help some people manage their weight by reducing the amount of food (i.e. fat, carbs and calories) being consumed.
Protein can build stronger muscles.
You may already know that protein is responsible for forming the building blocks of muscles. It’s not surprising, then, that eating more proteins helps to increase muscle mass and strength. Conversely, higher levels of protein can also help to prevent muscle loss when the body is in a catabolic state. Those who are physically active – particularly those interested in strengthening and toning – should be careful to ensure they’re getting enough protein in their diet.
Protein can boost your metabolism.
The human body uses energy (in the form of calories) to help digest and utilize the nutrients in foods. This process is known scientifically as the thermic effect. But not all foods are created equal in this regard. In particular, protein has a much higher thermic effect than fat or carbs. As such, eating more protein can improve metabolism and increase the number of calories your body burns. One study found that individuals consuming more protein burned 260 more calories per day than their low-protein counterparts. That’s equivalent to about an hour of moderate exercise a day!
Protein can help reduce snack cravings.
If you’re watching your weight, you may find the desire to snack in between meals to be quite a challenge. But grabbing that bag of chips or candy bar can undo all of your hard work and leave you feeling discouraged and defeated. One of the best ways to keep those cravings under control is to increase your protein intake. In fact, one study revealed that increasing protein to 25% of calories consumed reduced cravings by 60% and cut the desire for late-night snacking in half!
Protein can help you stay fit as you age.
One of the natural effects of aging is that our muscles begin to shrink. This process, known as age-related sarcopenia, is also responsible for many of the common injuries that occur in old age, such as frailty and bone fractures. While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent age-related sarcopenia entirely, there are things you can do to delay and/or reduce its effects. Remaining physically active is strongly recommended, but most importantly, eating more protein can dramatically help.
As you can see, there are many valuable benefits to increasing the amount of protein you consume. What’s the best way to do so? The good news is, there are a wide variety of different foods that can help naturally boost your protein intake. For instance, try incorporating more of the following into your diet:
- Lean Chicken
- Lean Beef
- Dairy (milk, cheese, full-fat yogurt)
- Brussels Sprouts
If you’re looking for a quick fix, our Proteins Blends provide the perfect solution. They are made with delicious, wholesome ingredients and so easy and convenient to prepare. Simply pop the package in the microwave, steam and enjoy! They’re also low in fat and feature plenty of fiber to help power your body and keep you feeling fuller longer. And since they contain only plant-based proteins, they’re perfect for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet!
Whatever way you choose to do so, getting lots of protein in your diet is essential to your long-term well-being, and that’s something we genuinely care about here at Hanover Foods.