What are the benefits of eating protein? Protein is so important for your body. Every cell in the body needs protein. Protein is essential for your hair and nails as well as building and repairing tissue. Protein makes enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals as well as bones, muscle, cartilage, skin and blood.
Most doctors and nutritionists want people to eat protein however they caution us not to eat too much and to eat only lean protein. Every article that I research talks a bit about the benefits of protein and then a lot about the risks of eating too much. Yes, you shouldn’t eat bacon and cheeseburgers all day long. I believe that if you are eating a well balanced diet you shouldn’t need to worry about getting too much. I don’t like to talk about how much to eat because everybody is different and you need to decide for yourself what is the right amount for you. What size are you? How much do you exercise? These are all factors.
I think the most important part of eating protein is choosing the right kind. I know this is not mainstream but I don’t think you only have to eat lean protein. My belief is that you should choose meat that is organic, hormone and antibiotic free. Beef and similar meats should be grass fed. You may need to look around your supermarket or go to a coop or Whole Foods to find grass fed and organic meats. Grass fed beef doesn’t have the health risks that conventional beef does and it is actually good for you.
Other protein sources that are beneficial are eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Walnuts are especially good for you. I have walnuts in oatmeal at times and also on my salads. They are high in omega 3s and low on the glycemic index.
How much protein do you need? Protein is especially important if you are on any kind of exercise plan and are an active person. Don’t go overboard thinking that you need a ton of protein to build muscle. However you may need to increase your intake if you are trying to increase your muscle. When researching this subject I found many different calculations about how to figure out your protein intake. Too much. Please don’t get caught up in counting protein grams. I simply make sure that I have some healthy protein at each meal and if I need a snack I feel better when I have a handful of nuts or some yogurt instead of a handful of my kid’s animal cookies 🙂
One of the reasons, in my opinion, that we are an overweight society is that we eat too many carbs and sugar and not enough healthy protein. Try having a protein shake for breakfast instead of cereal, pancakes, or pastries and see if you feel any different throughout the day. I love protein shakes. They are simple to make and great for you! For my recipe click here!
I will put a disclaimer here. If you have a health condition and your doctor has told you to stay away from eggs, beef etc. Follow their plan. My personal advice is for people that don’t have any major health concerns.