Bodybuilding is not the only reason to include protein in your diet. A protein diet is equally important for fitness and overall health. So, what else is protein good for? Let's have a look!
Why choose protein?
In the fitness industry protein foods are never unheard of especially as they are a source of amino acids, helps sustain energy and also helps you build muscle mass. Protein rich foods not only is necessary for fitness workouts but also to maintain your daily needs of the body as it helps in boosting energy and absorbing nutrients. It works wonders to reduce random food cravings. Protein-rich foods help increase metabolism for you to lose weight and burn excess fats.
Why should you include protein in your diet?
Proteins provide amino acids and the 9 essential amino acids are great for your body and brain health. Protein rich foods reduce hunger cravings in a massive way because protein-rich foods signal the brain to feel that excess need for hunger. In the breaks where you might be considering having a snack (often sugary, fatty or unhealthy) you will feel satiated after a protein rich diet. Here’s the scientific reason: Ghrelin is the hormone that induces hunger, protein rich diet helps increase peptides and reduces ghrelin that makes you feel satiated. Consuming protein can reduce tummy fat rapidly for women as you would then generally avoid carbohydrates rich foods.
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Top 10 Reasons to Include Protein in your diet
1. Increase muscle mass
One of the key benefits of having protein rich foods is that it helps increase muscle mass. This is beneficial for those in the fitness industry. You can resist muscle breakdown when muscles are in a “catabolic state” if your protein intake is high. This is related to bodybuilders who want to gain muscle mass and want to procure the energy to push themselves in a workout. Muscle strength also gradually increases with protein-rich diets. A bodybuilding diet plan comprising of a good mix of protein foods can be a real plus in such scenario.
2. Resist sugar and hunger cravings
If you want to keep your sugar cravings in check, then trying out some almonds or some dairy products like low-fat yogurts etc. can keep the sugar and hunger cravings at bay. So the goal is to take protein rich foods instead of sugary foods. It is often the case that our body craves for sugar and if taken randomly as a snack every now and then it can increase blood sugar levels in the body. Taking a high protein diet helps curb such feelings on one hand and can help you stay away from sugar. One of the reasons why your body craves sugar is because there is a lack of protein.
3. Increases Metabolism
Protein rich foods have been key to increasing the metabolic rate in your body. This is ideal for burning fat as you are trying to lose weight. With a high protein diet, you can burn about 80-100 calories a day because protein is said to have a high thermic effect (TEF) on foods. It is always a healthier alternative than carbs.
4. Improves Brain Health
It has been said for years now that protein rich foods help in brain functions to be improved. Proteins are required to break down into essential enzymes that in turn act as beneficial neurotransmitters to enhance brain functions. If you have a steady intake of amino acids via proteins, then your concentration and learning powers will improve.
5. Protein For Hair
Keratin is a type of protein that is fundamental for strong hair structure.Thus it becomes important to include protein in your diet for hair nourishment from the roots. An additional inclusion of foods rich in iron, zinc and other minerals can help promote hair growth via growth of hair cells.
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6. Improves Mood
The well-known hormones that result in a good mood are serotonin and dopamine. Protein-rich foods help produce enzymes that in turn can produce these hormones. Taking protein-rich foods can help you reduce anxiety levels.
7. Repair Muscles After Injury
Protein is key to form muscle tissues. If you have a high intake of protein in your diets then chances are your muscles can go into faster repair after injury.
8. Helps Lower Blood Pressure
This is directly proportional to promoting a healthy heart which is the next point. A controlled blood pressure or hypertension is important for heart health. Protein-rich foods help in lowering blood pressure in decent levels that decrease the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
9. Healthy Heart
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If you want a healthy heart, it is important to lower cholesterol levels (LDLs or the bad cholesterols). Instead of taking carbs, eating a protein rich diet can actually help in reducing heart-related risks. It is a kind of natural answer to high blood pressure- go to a protein rich diet.
10. Fitness With Age
With growing age, staying fit becomes a challenge. Muscles become frail and start to shrink. This condition can also be called sarcopenia which can be avoided if you follow a protein rich diet. The condition of “muscle wasting” can be reduced if protein diet is maintained.
How Much Protein Should You Take?
A high protein diet sounds good but it can be regulated as per your needs. The best thing to do is to consult your dietitian about the kinds of protein and the quantity you can take. For example, vegans can take soymilk or soy protein mainly and great sources of plant protein in the form of legumes or lentils. Added sources are fatty nuts and sesame or sunflower seeds. You can take about 50-60 grams of protein (for men) and about 40-50 grams per day (for women). Finding the exact amount of protein to take depends on age, weight, BMI/BMR, height, requirements, current health and goals for taking protein rich diets. You should try to avoid protein deficiency and the balance it as per your body requirement.