Posted on | February 19, 2010 | No Comments
First … for all you newbies out there – What is Protein? (I just need to take you back to anatomy, physiology & chemistry for revision before we get to the fun stuff)
Protein is a long train of amino acids (molecules) linked together. Protein has many different functions:
- They can provide structure (ligaments, fingernails, hair)
- Help in digestion (stomach enzymes)
- Aid in movement (muscles)
- Enable us to see (the lens of our eyes is pure crytalline protein).
The most important function of protein is to build up, repair and replace the tissues in your body. Your muscles, your organs and some hormones are made up mostly of protein. Protein also helps in the transportation of oxygen to your blood cells (antibodies and hemoglobin).
Our body is able to produce 14 of the 20 amino acids. We have to get the remaining amino acids from the foods we eat.
From our diet, we get protein from beef, lamb, pork, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, cheese and soy products – These are considered “complete” proteins as they contain all of the essential amino acids. Other “incomplete” sources of protein are nuts (almonds), tofu, beans and whole grains.
Ok….. now to the HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING PROTEIN
1. Helps to build muscle mass (and sustain muscle during weight loss)
2. Improves immunity
3. Improves antioxidant function
4. Builds ‘Good’ Cholesterol (HDL)
5. Enhance insulin and leptin function – all of which contribute toward optimal weight management efforts over time. (In a nut shell – Insulin helps to control blood sugar which can affect weight management & leptin regulates your appetite and makes you feel full)
6. Stabilises Blood Sugar
7. Supports Weight Loss
8. Improves Metabolism
9. Helps to keep you feeling full (satiety)
However, like anything….. too much can be a bad thing. Too much protein can cause harmful damage to the vital organs of your body. So I’m certainly not promoting consumption of massive amounts of protein daily. But, at every meal aim for a ‘palm size portion’ of lean meat…. Yes… so look at cheap drugs online your hand, pretend you have no fingers and what is left is the size of the protein you should have. (Now, if you looking at the size of your palm and thinking “that’s not big enough” …… then we need to have a little chat about PORTION CONTROL)
Try swapping carbs with a little bit more protein to see and feel the difference.