Of the three food nutrients, protein is, without question, the most popular with fat checking in as the least desired and carbs sort of in the middle.
There are many benefits to eating protein, from building muscle to burning fat, we wanted to curate 10 of the more interesting reasons to consume more protein.
1. Lowers Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. Interestingly, higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure. In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number of a reading) by 1.76 mm Hg on average and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a reading) by 1.15 mm Hg. One study found that, in addition to lowering blood pressure, a high-protein diet also reduced LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides (27).
2. Boosts Your Immune System
Your immune system is made up of proteins, it needs new protein synthesis to function. If you don’t get enough of it, your immune system will weaken. Adult women should consume 49g of protein daily and adult men should consume 56g.
3. Reduced Your Stress Levels
Protein has a stabilizing effect on blood sugar. High stress levels can lead to hypoglycemia or other blood sugar imbalances. Increasing protein intake—especially in the morning—can boost energy levels, reduce jitteriness, agitation and mood swings, improve sleep, and sharpen brain function. I’ve seen this repeatedly in my work with patients. If you’re chronically stressed, the tissues in your body literally start to break down. Stress researchers call this “wear and tear” on the body allostatic load.The tissue breakdown is caused in part by collagen proteins being used up faster than they are replaced. So, if you’re under a lot of stress, it’s especially important to eat proteins that contain collagen.
4. Strengthens Your Hair
Protein is essential for all parts of your body, and it’s great for skin, but it’s even better for hair and nails—did you know they are actually made up mostly of protein? Thinning hair and dull hair are possible signs that you’re not getting enough protein in your diet.
5. Balances Your Hormones
Enzymes are protein catalysts which play an important role in all the biochemical processes and reactions occurring in the body. Without altering themselves, these enzymes accelerate the rate of all the chemical events. The performance of the chemical processes depends upon the measure of enzymes present in the body. A slower rate of reactions and processes indicate a deficit of necessary enzymes in the body. Various protein hormones such as insulin, growth hormone, and glucagon also comprise of amino acids which play an important role in various functions operating in the body.
6. Improves Your Brain Function
Another most important benefit of a protein-rich diet is its ability to improve our cognitive functions. The amino acids, which are formed by the synthesis of protein, help in the formation of neurotransmitters, and other enzymes, which are required to keep our energy level up and help us concentrate.
7. Helps Control Your Diabetes
For years, people living with diabetes have been trying to control symptoms with medication. Unfortunately, patients often experience disappointing results… In an article by health writer Samantha Olson, new research presented at the 2015 European Association for the Study of Diabetes meeting found that “a protein-laden diet regimen may help Type 2 diabetes patients improve their blood sugar levels.” Studies concluded that “eating foods that digest slowly and take longer to reach the bloodstream, like fiber and protein, cause insulin to release gradually, helping the body maintain healthy glucose levels.”
8. Fights Cancer
The number of cancer cases worldwide are on the rise owing to our poor dietary and lifestyle habits. A Cancer Research study reported that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein not only assists in weight loss but also restricts cancer initiation and growth.
9. Improves Your Mood
Everybody wants to be happy. But you can’t keep a euphoric state when you feel tired all the time, and you don’t have enough energy to practice what you love. However, if you enrich your diet with a protein surplus, you will feel a boost of positive mood… Certain amino acids are in our system, they will immediately help balance our hormones. This will lead to preventing mood changes, so there will be no more anxiety, depression or weakness for you.
10. Strengthens Your Heart
Despite some widely publicized concerns that protein might be bad for your cardiovascular health, the research actually paints the exact opposite picture. One 2005 review of the available data found that high protein diets are associated with a lower risk of hypertension and congenital heart disease, while diets which included very low levels of animal protein were associated with a significant increase in the risk of a hemorrhagic stroke. What this means is that you might be doing your heart more favors by dishing up a juicy steak, than by eating a kale salad.