Cutting calories and increasing exercise routines is great for your desire to get in better shape. However, if you neglect nutrition in your pursuits, your efforts can be ill-founded. In order to take full advantage of the amazing things your body can do, it needs proper nutrition. While building muscle, protein can be a very helpful nutrient. On the other hand, too much protein can inhibit your ability to reach your fitness goals. It is essential to find the right balance and understand the reasons why your body needs protein.
PH Level Regulation
One of the largest attributes of proper protein intake is ensuring the body’s PH levels are in check. PH, or potential for hydrogen is the measure of alkaline or acidity in your body. Leaning one way or the other too much can lead to certain health concerns. Depending on where you live and your overall lifestyle will determine how alkaline or acidic your body actually is. 7.4 PH level tends to be optimal for most people, but if you happen to live in an area where acidic foods are the norm, your optimal PH level could lean more toward the acidic side. Increasing protein levels can help balance out your PH level which can aid in your efforts to lose weight.
Antibodies, such as amino acids, help our bodies ward off potential infections and common ailments. They work as our body’s primary defence system and when we are low on protein levels, our immune system can suffer drastically. During this past year, more people have been steadily increasing their intake of protein to help boost their immune defence.
Burn Fat More Efficiently
We have already stated that increasing your protein intake can help you lose weight, but it does more than that. Instead of merely losing water weight or muscle mass, increasing protein targets stubborn fat cells. It is estimated that an increase of protein within your diet can boost your fat loss up to 30%, so anyone struggling to lose weight would do well to increase their intake of lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, turkey, and legumes.
A Vehicle for Nutrients
Apart from helping our body lose weight, protein works almost like an efficient bus system inside our blood stream. Protein attaches to essential nutrients and works to bring them to the correct parts of our body. Vitamins, minerals, oxygen, blood sugar, and cholesterol are transported in and out of cells throughout the body by protein. Additionally, protein helps build up essential stores in our body that can be accessed when we are deficient. Iron and other mineral stores help us maintain optimal body health even when we are not consuming adequate levels of these nutrients.
Growth and Development
Pregnant and nursing women are often encouraged to increase their intake of lean proteins. This is not due to the need for excess calories, but a factor in the development of the baby. Antibodies, hormones, and enzymes form during the first stages of life and protein helps these building blocks work more effectively and help the baby grow. At varying stages of our development, through puberty and beyond, increased protein intake can assist in growth as well.
But How Much is Too Much?
Many diets emphasise the need for increased protein and the reduction of carb consumption. These diets can be helpful, certainly, but in some instances, you may be consuming too much protein. Although the exact numbers are not yet available, a good rule to stick to with your protein consumption is to ensure that 10% of your diet is comprised of primarily lean protein.
The types of protein you consume is important as well. Eating red meat, such as steak with every meal or consuming too much pork might provide protein, but it can be the wrong type. These meats should be used sparingly and certainly should not be your main source of protein. Too much red meat and pork can cause problems with your heart, liver, and other organs.
Proper protein intake includes lean protein sources. Omega 3 Fatty Acid rich fish is among the best protein sources for a healthy adult. These include salmon, tuna, and similar fatty fish. Turkey and chicken are excellent sources of lean protein as well, provided you leave off the skin. For vegetarians and vegans, protein sources can come from beans and legumes.