It is not an exaggeration to say that proteins are the building blocks of life. Large and complex molecules built of amino acids, proteins serve many vital roles within the human body. They help build new cells, maintain tissues, and assist with most basic (and highly complex) bodily functions. From your muscles and bones to your hair, skin, and nails, your body is filled with proteins: keratin, collagen, myosin, actin, hemoglobin, myoglobin, enzymes, and even DNA. All proteins consist of long chains of amino acids, but the amino acids differ in sequence from protein to protein. Do you know why we need protein to survive and thrive?
Why We Need Protein
Our bodies need three substances (known as macronutrients) in relatively large amounts: fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. However, protein differs from fat and carbs in that the body does not store it. Since it is not hoarded for future use, we must consume a fair amount of it each day.
We briefly described some of the functions of proteins above, but if you want to know why we need protein, we must dig a little deeper. You can thank proteins for completing or assisting with all of the following bodily tasks:
- Creating new cells
- Providing structure and support to cells
- Building and repairing tissues
- Producing enzymes
- Breaking down food for absorption
- Regulating the entry of nutrients through cell walls
- Producing neurotransmitters, which enable neurotransmission
- Carrying oxygen around the body
- Regulating your metabolism
- Protecting your body against viruses
- Manufacturing hormones
- Supporting the immune system
- Carrying atoms and molecules within cells and throughout the body
- Forming your hair and nails
In addition, protein helps you feel full after a meal, which can prevent overeating and snacking. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
How to Increase Your Protein Intake
Now that you better understand why we need protein, you might want to give your body a little more protein to work with. The amount of protein a person needs for good health depends on their age, sex, and level of physical activity.
Although most people obtain a sufficient amount of protein through their diet, you may wish to increase your protein intake for various reasons. For example, some people increase the amount of protein in their diet to lose weight, increase their muscle mass, burn fat, and/or improve their bone health. Protein is also very beneficial when you’re starting a new workout program, amping up your workouts, or recovering from an injury. Combine your high-protein diet with regular exercise for best results.
Sufficient protein intake is especially important for the healthy growth and development of children, teens, and pregnant women. Athletes need more protein than average adults, with daily protein amount recommendations depending on activity level and body weight. In addition, anyone pursuing a vegan or vegetarian diet should carefully evaluate the amount of protein in their diet to ensure they are getting enough without consuming meat, chicken, fish, and (if vegan) all other animal products. Finally, the elderly may need more high-quality protein to prevent muscle loss that occurs with age (also known as sarcopenia). According to Harvard Health Publications, it is best to divide your protein intake equally amongst your meals to maximize muscle protein synthesis (source).
You can find protein in a variety of foods, including all of the following:
- Meat (chicken, beef, turkey, fish, etc.)
- Dairy (eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt)
- Legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
- Vegetables (especially peas, spinach, kale, and broccoli)
Some products make it exceptionally easy for you to obtain protein in a quick, healthy, and convenient form. Protein powder, for example, is formulated to provide a quick boost of protein. You can add it to numerous recipes or simply mix it into a protein shake.
If you’re interested in supplementing your protein intake, check out CHiKPURE™ Organic Chicken Protein. This high-quality, convenient protein powder is composed of 100% real chicken, so you won’t need to worry about superfluous fillers or unnatural additions. It checks all the boxes: USDA-certified organic, non-allergenic, dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. Plus, it is fully cooked and ready to eat. To learn more about CHiKPURE™ Organic Chicken Protein, please send us an e-mail. Finally, be sure to check out our website for some scrumptious recipes that incorporate chicken protein powder.