What are proteins and how do they help us?
Proteins are made of amino acids, which are known as the building blocks for a healthy and efficiently functioning body. These amino acids join together to enhance the overall functioning of your body. We need adequate protein (whether vegan or a meat eater) to regulate blood flow. They are also responsible for producing neurotransmitters, neurons, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies, without which our body completely fails to function like it should.
Adequate amounts of protein help replace worn out cells in your body and transport essential nutrients from one organ to another. Furthermore, it also aids in repairing your body and promoting growth, and increases glutathione production which is the bodies “master antioxidant.” Protein increases the levels of hormone glucagon in your body, which help control body fat, and converts “lazy fat” cells into energy.
How much protein do you actually need?
The amount of protein you need completely depends on your personal health and how active you are in your daily routine. The recommended amount for the average adult is 0.8 grams of protein, and most nutritionists generally agree that at least 0.36 grams per one pound of weight are more beneficial. For instance, if a person weighs around 150 pounds, then he or she should consume at least 54 grams of protein per day to maintain overall hormone health. However, amount of protein really just protects you from falling prey to any sort of protein deficiency; if you train hard or are physically active, you need to increase that amount to regulate hormone function.
Protein can be poison: Can I overdo protein consumption?
Remember to consume all things, even the healthy ones, in moderation because anything that is consumed in excess becomes poison for your body. Truth be told, this was my problem years ago (I was eating 1g per pound of body weight which was too much for me). The same is true for protein consumption because the extra protein in your body can convert into fat or sugar, negating any positive effect the protein would have in the first place. Overconsumption of protein is primarily counter-productive; it rarely causes serious malady, but should be monitored all the same.
As with all things nutrition-related, I tell my clients to do a bit of experimenting. See how you feel with more or less protein (monitor energy, sleep, etc) and adjust from there. Unfortunately there is truly no “one-size-fits-all” approach to nutrition, and that’s the same for protein consumption. While some may feel better with low protein and higher fat, others do well with higher amounts of protein and fewer fats. It’s all about bio-individuality and how food fuels your unique body.
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