Written by Charlotte Campbell
A high protein intake often goes hand in hand with an active lifestyle. Fitness fans have long been singing the praises of protein. But should protein be equally as important for those of us that are not frequent gym attendees?
Research heavily indicates that a high protein diet offers a whole host of health benefits. Whether you lift weights or just the TV remote, getting an extra dose of protein could do you a lot of good.
Firstly, protein is excellent at keeping your appetite in check. By eating lean sources of protein, you’ll keep your stomach fuller for much longer. If you want to cut calories but don’t know where to start, add a portion of protein for your mid-morning and afternoon snack. Some chicken bites, a handful of nuts or a protein brownie are perfect. Incorporate this into your routine, and you are likely to find yourself consuming fewer calories without realising. Studies suggest you could drop over 400 calories from your daily intake.
If you aren’t a fan of snacking, simply increase your protein in your meals. Have a half portion of rice and replace it with extra fish, for example. Alternatively, you could swap your regular carbs for higher protein versions. Pasta, pancakes and bread are all available with high protein content.
As well as helping you to reduce your calorie intake, protein also helps the body burn the calories it has consumed. Protein has a higher thermic affect than carbs or fats. This means that it can be very efficiently processed by the body and turned into energy to be burned off. So each time you opt to take the stairs or walk from the far side of the car park to the shops, the protein will be busily burning off.
Weight loss aside, there are other valuable health benefits provided by protein.
Protein is also essential for supporting and building lean muscle. This is one of the main reasons protein and protein products are so essential for anyone that works out. Without protein, you would lose muscle mass along with fat, so you would struggle to achieve a toned look. While protein without exercise won’t build any muscle, it will protect and maintain the muscle you already have. You may not think your muscles amount to much, but they provide essential support. Look after them, and they’ll look after you!
Muscle support is especially important as we get older. A common occurrence when we age is the deterioration of our muscles. This can affect mobility and make you more prone to injury. Who knew a protein shake was an investment in your future?
Protein also helps the bones directly, as well as through muscle maintenance. Studies have shown that a high protein diet makes you less likely to suffer from osteoporosis and fractures. This is important news for women, who are more at risk of osteoporosis as we age.
It is worth noting that a high protein diet does not mean only protein. While protein provides many benefits it should be consumed as part of a varied diet that also contains carbs and fats.