The Power of Protein

We hear all the time, ‘Eat your PROTEIN‘, ‘Up your Protein intake’, ‘Are you eating enough protein?’.
But why?
Why is protein important?

Lets take a look at the main reasons why we NEED protein in our diet;

Muscle Growth and Repair: Protein is essential for muscle tissue development and repair, playing a crucial role in promoting muscle growth and recovery. During physical activity, our muscles undergo small tears and damage. Protein aids in the repair of these tears and facilitates muscle growth and recovery. As we surpass the age of 35, our muscle mass begins to decline at a rate of approximately 1% per year. Therefore, it is crucial to enhance muscle mass through resistance training and ensure an adequate protein intake. This approach safeguards our muscle mass and bone density, reducing the risk of falls and fractures, and enabling us to perform daily activities such as climbing stairs, cleaning, and carrying groceries. Moreover, it sustains a higher metabolic rate, promoting overall metabolic health.

Enzyme Production: Enzymes are proteins that help catalyze chemical reactions in the body. They are involved in everything from digestion to energy production, detoxification, defense mechanisms, and cellular signaling and are crucial for overall health and well-being. Their ability to catalyze specific chemical reactions with high efficiency and specificity is crucial for maintaining overall health and ensuring proper functioning of the body’s cells and systems.

Hormone Regulation: Many hormones in the body are made up of proteins. For example, insulin is a protein hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Other protein hormones include growth hormone, thyroid hormone, and adrenaline.

Immune System Support: Proteins are also important for the immune system. Antibodies, which are proteins, help identify and neutralize foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria.

Skin, Hair, and Nail Health: Protein is also essential for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Keratin, a protein found in hair, skin, and nails, helps keep these structures strong and healthy.

In summary, protein is a crucial nutrient that plays many important roles in the body. From muscle growth and repair to hormone regulation and immune system support, it is essential for overall health and well-being.

How much Protein should you be eating?

Scientific studies and expert recommendations suggest that protein intake should be based on an individual’s body weight rather than a fixed amount. The commonly referenced range for protein intake is in grams per kilogram of body weight (g/kg). Here are some general guidelines based on scientific research:

  1. Sedentary Adults: For sedentary adults with minimal physical activity, a protein intake of around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight (g/kg) is often recommended. This is the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for protein and is considered the minimum amount necessary to prevent deficiency in the majority of healthy individuals.
    ie; if your weighed 70kg it would look like; 70×0.8= 56g of protein daily
  2. Active Individuals: For individuals engaging in regular physical activity, including resistance training or endurance exercise, higher protein intake may be beneficial for muscle repair, recovery, and adaptation. Recommendations typically range from 1.2 to 2.2 g/kg of body weight, depending on the intensity and duration of the activity.
  3. Athletes: Athletes involved in intense training or sports with high energy demands may require even higher protein intake to support muscle repair, recovery, and performance. Recommended protein intakes for athletes often fall within the range of 1.2 to 2.5 g/kg of body weight, depending on the sport, training volume, and individual needs.

It’s important to note that individual requirements can vary based on factors such as age, gender, body composition, overall health, and specific goals. Additionally, these recommendations are intended for healthy adults and may differ for individuals with certain medical conditions or special dietary needs.

Consulting with a healthcare professional, registered dietitian, or sports nutritionist can provide personalized guidance on protein intake based on individual factors and goals. They can help assess specific needs and provide tailored recommendations for optimal protein intake.

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