Of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, protein is the most filling component of food. Because it is so dense, with nutritional value it takes less protein than other food components to achieve a sense of fullness. Substances known as ketones are produced during protein digestion and are released into the bloodstream.
These ketones act as a natural appetite suppressant which leads to a sense of fullness and satiety. Logically, these sensations result in the desire to consume fewer calories overall and halts a trend toward excess weight gain.
2. Protein Builds Muscle Mass
During active phases of exercise, protein helps to build up and maintain muscle mass. In this context, it should be noted that ‘muscle mass’ doesn’t mean ‘muscle bound’. Lean, strong skeletal muscle allows for greater strength and balance in all body types. Simultaneously, consuming adequate protein also defends against loss of muscle during weight loss.
3. Boosts Metabolism
Healthy, lean muscle isn’t just attractive and handy for lifting heavy things; it also helps maintain a reasonable weight. Muscle is energetically very expensive to maintain, so by eating more protein, you boost your muscle mass- and consequently have a higher daily calorie budget for your body is maintain itself.
4. Skeletal Strength
Osteoporosis is a constant threat for a large portion of the elderly population- but a high protein diet might alleviate some of the risks for brittle bones. Recent studies have shown that seniors who consume high protein diets had a significantly lower chance of osteoporosis and fractures. Protein foods are also typically high in magnesium, which is essential for building and maintaining strong bones, no matter what age group.
5. What Cravings?
Interestingly, though high protein diets lead to higher, more expensive muscle mass, they also seem to have the paradoxical and beneficial effect of curbing cravings. In one study where protein content was increased to 25% of the subjects’ diets, nighttime cravings plummeted by a stunning 60% compared to control groups. A similar study featuring a group of late teen girls showed that consuming a high protein breakfast resulted in less snacking overall, especially in the evening.
6. Cardiovascular Health Repercussions
People who eat high protein diets have better cardiovascular health overall. In particular, they tend to have lower overall blood pressure, LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and lower triglyceride counts. All these components contribute to a greatly reduced risk for chronic kidney disease, heart attack, and stroke. Lean meats and cold water fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are particularly helpful in this regard.
7. Recovery From Injury
Being the literal Lego of the human body, a higher protein intake can help with recovery from injury. Consuming foods with quality protein content provides the body with the essential building blocks it requires to repair and maintain tissues.
8. Maintenance For Senior Fitness
A common physical issue with aging is the loss of overall muscle mass. Some of this stems from decreased activity levels, but this muscular atrophy also has connections to diet. ’Age-related sarcopenia’ as it is called is an issue that contributes to frailty, loss of balance, potential fractures, and decreased quality of life. Luckily, it can be prevented or lessened by increased protein intake partnered with reasonable physical activity.
9. Mood Booster
The essential amino acids found in protein-rich foods have a broad impact on mood and nerve health. Decreased protein levels in the body contribute to moodiness, irritation, cravings, and anxiety. Conversely, protein-dense diets provide the body with natural means to stabilize blood glucose and balances hormone levels (both which affect mood). Neurotransmitter functions are enhanced as is the production of serotonin and dopamine, leading to increased sensations of calmness and satisfaction.
10. Brain Food
Dietary protein also affects how our brains function overall- especially when learning. Physical and mental skill retention can be enhanced with the simple incorporation of more daily protein. Bursting with B vitamins, high protein foods help our bodies process energy and lead to better overall concentration, retention, and recollection. Amino acids and minerals that synthesize essential chemicals in the brain are all found in high protein food sources.
11. Long Term Weight Management
A diet that consistently features a high percentage of protein has also been connected to healthy weight management over time. Given the sense of fullness and the beneficial effects of protein in the body, it is unsurprising that a high protein diet correlates with both weight loss and successful maintenance of that lower body weight over time.