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Protein! Protein! Protein! We hear a lot about it these days. With low carb diets and keto diets on the rise it is a common theme. Here are five reasons why protein is a good things to increase in your daily dietary intake.
- Protein is the building block of all body tissues. There is a complement of data that identifies the importance of maintaining nitrogen balance to keep tissues healthy. Protein is the main element that maintains this state. When a person is in a negative nitrogen balance their body has a more difficult time repairing itself. If you are recovering from an injury or surgery; keeping yourself in a state of positive nitrogen balance is the best way to speed healing. Also reducing the sugar content and carbohydrate load on the body reduces the risk of infection. So when healing…think protein.
- Carbohydrates are being identified as the root cause of many disease states including but not limited to heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. High protein foods are recommended for reversing the effects of carbohydrates. Foods high in protein and fat are usually low in sugar. When a manufacturer removes one product from a food source they must replace it with another. Removing carbohydrates often results in increasing fat and protein content. This is not always the case though, therefore, get used to reading labels. I bought a protein bar the other day that said it had 20 Grams of protein in it. After reading the label I became aware that it also had 29 grams of carbohydrates. What may look healthy on the label is not always the case. READ LABELS.
- Protein is filling. It is harder for the stomach to breakdown protein than it is for carbs. Therefore, it hangs around longer in the stomach and reduces your hunger for a longer period of time
- Helpful in muscle development. The two proteins responsible for muscle contraction are called actin and myosin. These actin and myosin threads are the very area in the muscle where contraction occurs. Protein sources after a workout is important for the rebuilding of these threads.
- Keeps your nervous system healthy. Nerves are covered with a substance called myelin. It is a covering that protects the nerves and assists the transmission of electrical activity to travel from nerve to nerve and nerve to muscle. It is made up of three different proteins. Increasing protein in your diet will allow the body to repair this myelin.
Where are the best sources of protein found?
- Eggs (Egg whites are the best source of complete protein)
- Beans (Black Beans are an excellent source of protein)
- Steel Cut oats
- Cottage cheese (Dress it up with green onion and whipped cream)
- Quinoa (This ancient grain is an excellent source of protein. Have it for breakfast in place of oatmeal with milk and maple syrup or have it as a side dish with nuts and dried cranberries. )
- Lean meats such as turkey, chicken, and bison
- Greek Yogurt (However watch the carbohydrate value. Read your labels. Those with fruit mixtures are sometimes high in carbs. They also contain artificial sweeteners which have negative implications. Best bet get plain yogurt and dress it up with a little honey and nuts.
- Protein drinks and snack bars. Again watch the sugar content in each. When you want to reach for that candy bar or bag of chips mix up a protein drink instead. You will be amazed at the weight you will loose and how much better you will feel giving your body the tool it needs to rebuild itself.