Protein is essential for our bodies to grow and maintain our cells. It helps us heal wounds, replace lost blood, grow our hair and nails, and develop our body and muscles. Certain amino acids are important for boosting our immune and nervous systems, as well our metabolic and physiological processes.
Protein is one of the most versatile food groups. It builds and maintains muscles, organs, bones, and connective tissue. As an enzyme, it powers digestion. As a hormone, protein guides your body to properly allocate food between energy usage and storage in fat form, later to be retrieved for energy. Protein delivers oxygen to muscles and organs through the bloodstream. As an antibody, it assists in fighting viruses and bacteria, thus maintaining your health. In addition, protein consumption aids in increased metabolic rate through the elevated thermic effect – energy required to consume and process a given food. The thermic effect of protein is as high as 30% in comparison with easily digested and body-fat-bound dietary fat (2-3%). In conjunction with building calorie-consuming muscles (your body uses 50 calories/day just to maintain 1 lb of muscle), this nutrient is the driving force behind burning fat and maintaining lean muscle.
Zinczenko, David. The Abs Diet. Rodale Inc, 2004
Protein also helps keep you feeling full, which will help you make better food choices if you are trying to lose or maintain your weight. Protein will only keep you healthy, though, if you are eating the proper amount of it and healthy proteins. Fatty portions of meat are not going to do you nearly as much good as lean meats or plant proteins.
Below is a link to calculate how much protein you should have per day.
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