Protein is a crucial part of every cell in your body. Your hair, skin, nails, & eyes are made up of protein. The cells that make up your kidneys, heart, lungs, & nerves are made of protein as well. Protein has many health benefits.
Some health benefits of protein are: improves fat burning, stimulates muscle building, improves learning & memory, promotes a positive mood, important for heart health, improves bone density, slows the aging process and promotes longevity, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
It’s important to know how much protein your body needs, because eating too much protein can turn into glucose through the process of gluconeogenesis. According to Google, adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day's calories from protein foods. That's about 46 grams of protein for women, and 56 grams of protein for men. There are some great free protein calculators online to give you a better idea of how much protein your body needs specifically.
Loss of muscle is more common in the elderly but unnecessary and avoidable. It’s important to do resistance training (using hand weights, resistance bands, etc.) to prevent muscle loss and muscle wasting. Resistance training prevents your muscles from atrophying and keeps your body from using your muscles as food for energy as you get older. Studies have shown the doing a weight workout before a cardio workout increases the amount of calories burned during the cardio portion. Studies have also shown resistance training makes a huge difference even if you have never tried it and start today.
Meat is not the only protein source available. If you are vegan, there are many other plant based protein options like pea protein milk, plant based protein powders, lentils, edamame, beans, nuts, quinoa, chick peas, broccoli, & more! I’m not personally vegan, but I love to drink pea protein milk as my milk of choice because it has the same amount of protein as dairy milk, 50% more calcium, & I have the option to buy sugar free. Depending on the brand, one cup of dairy milk has a whopping 12 grams of sugar!! I will share some more about sugar in my next article.