Why is Protein Something You Should Prioritize in a Healthy Diet
Jan 02, 2024
When it comes to a healthy diet, there are three main macronutrients we all need to be familiar with. Those three key nutrients include carbohydrates, fat, and today’s focus — protein. With so many fad diets out there today, the scale seems to tip in one direction or the other when it comes to carbohydrates and fat, while one nutrient remains the same in terms of importance, which is protein.
A hot topic of discussion is how much protein you should be consuming on a daily basis. As a rule of thumb to follow, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is set at 0.8g per kilogram of body weight daily. That should be the lowest amount of protein you consume daily.
As an example, let’s say you’re 150 pounds. When you convert that weight to kilograms, you get 68 kilograms. 0.8g per kilogram using 68 kilograms is 54g of protein you would need to consume per day. If you live an active lifestyle, that number can be increased to between 1.2-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to help provide your body with adequate protein to help rebuild the torn-down muscle fibers due to intense exercise.
But the question arises, “What exactly is the role of protein in a healthy diet?”
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your daily nutrition plan.
8 Reasons Protein Is a MUST in Any Healthy Diet
Below are eight examples of how important protein is, why you need it in a healthy diet, and why you should be sure to make it a priority in your meals.
1. Build Lean Muscle
Protein is the building block for muscles. For muscles to be repaired, rebuilt, and grow (hypertrophy), they need adequate protein, which can then be broken down into usable amino acids. By building lean muscle mass, you can get stronger, and normal daily activities can become easier.
Maintaining your strength and lean muscle mass is also essential as we age to maintain our health and activity level — essentially our independence and freedom.
2. Help Prevent Muscle Loss
As we age, our bodies tend to lose lean muscle mass — referred to as sarcopenia. This is detrimental in quite a few ways. When total muscle mass is reduced, it can decrease strength. A decrease in strength can cause everyday activities to become more difficult.
Also, when you lose muscle mass, your metabolism starts to slow down. This is because muscles burn calories simply through maintenance and daily functioning — even while at rest. When muscle tissue is lost, it isn’t able to maintain the same energy expenditure per day.
3. Curb Hunger
Adding protein to a healthy diet is a fantastic way to curb hunger and stay satiated longer. You should strive to have protein in all your meals, including snacks. Such protein sources can be chicken, soy, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, Greek yogurt, dairy products, beef, tofu, or any other plant-based protein, to name a few. If you are in a rush, a protein bar, or even a protein shake can be extremely convenient.
Related Article: A Whey to Use Protein Other Than in Your Shakes
But when you include protein in your healthy diet (compared to carbohydrates and fats), you will feel the fullest following consumption of a protein source (even when consuming less food). The increase in satiety is that protein helps reduce a hunger hormone called ghrelin while increasing the hormone leptin, which signals to the brain that you are full and you should stop eating.
Speaking of curbing hunger, don’t forget water as well. Drinking water can keep you feeling more satiated throughout the day and help improve your skin’s health, which we’ll discuss next when it comes to protein in a healthy diet.
4. Support Bones, Skin, and Cartilage Health
There are specific proteins called fibrous proteins (proteins found in muscles, bones, and ligaments). These particular proteins are responsible for providing the body with strength, structure, and flexibility. Collagen, for example, is a protein source used to help improve the strength and health of your hair, skin, and nails. Collagen also plays a vital role in the overall health of your tendons, ligaments, and bones. On the other hand, animal protein plays an even bigger role in these factors. A healthy diet with adequate protein can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures (common age-related issues).
With age, the elasticity of our skin, joints, and tendons can weaken — causing issues such as aches and pains as well as wrinkles in our skin. Maintaining a healthy diet that includes quality protein can help prevent and delay some of the adverse effects of aging while also helping to keep your body strong.
5. May Lower Blood Pressure
When you think of high blood pressure, it’s common to see blood work showing high triglycerides and cholesterol levels. While this isn’t always the case, it tends to go hand-in-hand. However, a healthy diet that includes quality lean protein sources can help decrease your blood pressure.
Common risks associated with high blood pressure include strokes, heart attacks, and kidney disease. While consuming protein may not eliminate these risks, it can help lower the likelihood of these conditions.
6. Boost Immunity
When it comes to your immune system, it needs protein in order to function optimally. If you are not taking in enough protein through a healthy diet, you run the risk of wearing down your immunity and potentially running the increased risk of illness and disease. Providing adequate protein for the immune system is vital to ensure it remains strong and able to ward off foreign bodies that enter the system and could potentially do us harm.
Related Article: No Whey! 3 Ways Whey Protein Isolate Helps Your Immune System
7. Sustainable Energy
Think for just a moment about energy sources and what provides your body the fuel necessary to not only live but move. The first source that comes to mind is probably carbohydrates. Why? Because they’re the most common. But protein can also be used as an energy source — and it comes with some unique advantages.
Unlike carbohydrates, protein from a healthy diet doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar as most carbohydrate sources do. That spike tends to provide you with a quick boost of energy, but shortly after, you find yourself crashing. Protein takes longer to break down compared to carbohydrates, allowing for a more stable and slower rise in blood sugar without the quick and immediate spike — creating a nice steady stream of energy without the abrupt crash.
8. Total Body Regulation
There is so much that could be said here that it’s truly amazing what protein can do for your body. Your red blood cells are made up of proteins called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is what helps carry oxygenated blood throughout the body. Protein also helps provide cells with their structure and strength — preventing them from collapsing or becoming damaged, which could result in illness or disease.
Digestion also relies on your protein intake. In order for you to break down food, you need enzymes. Some of the protein you consume through a healthy diet goes into producing enzymes as well as other body chemicals.
As we age, our hormone levels tend to fluctuate. Protein can help regulate and balance hormones so they aren’t thrown off — causing imbalances and negative effects.
A Delicious Way to Increase Your Protein Intake in a Healthy Diet
We may be slightly biased, but we believe the Evogen Nutrition IsoJect flavors are some of the best protein powders on the planet. If you follow a healthy diet and are looking for ways to incorporate more protein in your daily intake, we have some treats for you!
Sure, you can use Evogen Nutrition IsoJect post-workout or any time of day you need to increase your protein intake, but let’s face it — shakes can get boring over time, and you want something you can actually chew on, right?
That’s where our IsoJect recipes come into play!
For years, we’ve compiled some of the most amazing recipes using Evogen Nutrition IsoJect, and we want to share some of them with you.
Check out some of our mouth-watering protein recipes below:
- IsoJect Blueberry Protein Donuts
- IsoJect Gingerbread Protein Bites
- IsoJect Protein Strawberry Parfait
- IsoJect Protein Chocolate Mug Cake
- IsoJect Protein Pumpkin Pie
- IsoJect Vanilla Bean Protein Cheesecake
- IsoJect Protein Pumpkin Pie Bites
- IsoJect Protein Chocolate Pudding Pops
- IsoJect Protein Double Chocolate Pancake
- IsoJect Protein Peppermint Bark