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What are the Health Benefits of Protein?

Protein can help build and maintain healthy muscles.
Chicken and fish are considered complete proteins.
The most common sources for complete proteins are animal products.
Eating a high-protein diet can help a person gain muscle mass.
Essential amino acids, which can be found in foods or supplements, cannot be produced by the body, yet are still needed for protein metabolism.
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  • Written By: M. DePietro
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2014
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When we eat foods that contain protein, the body breaks it down into amino acids. These amino acids are necessary for building muscle and blood. There are 20 standard amino acids, which are divided into two categories, including essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. The body can make some of the essential acids on it’s own, but certain amino acids must come from eating foods containing protein.

There are many health benefits of protein. Eating enough protein is essential to maintain a healthy body. If the body sustains an injury, such as a cut, protein helps with tissue repair. Along with carbohydrates, protein provides energy for the body which helps keep us from becoming fatigued. Another one of the benefits of protein is helping the body fight off illness and disease and keeping the immune system functioning properly.

The muscles in our bodies are partly made up of protein. One of the pros of protein is maintaining healthy muscles. Protein also helps build skin, hair, nails and cartilage. Because the body does not store protein, it’s important to eat healthy protein everyday.

Proteins are considered incomplete or complete proteins. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins don’t. Good sources of complete proteins come from animals. For instance, eggs, milk, chicken and fish all contain complete proteins. Healthy food choices for incomplete proteins include, nuts, such as almonds, beans and whole grains.

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To get the proper health benefits of protein, most people need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. When additional demands are made on the body, such as in pregnancy or while recovering from an injury, more protein is needed to help the body. Children and teenagers also need additional protein to help with growth.

Without protein, the body would not be able to function properly. Various conditions could develop such as anemia and hypotension. Problems with circulation and healing from an injury would also occur. Because protein helps muscle, without it muscle mass may decrease and weakness can occur.

Although there are benefits of protein, too much of a good thing can be bad. Eating a high protein diet can cause problems if too few carbohydrates are eaten. When high levels of protein are eaten in combination with too few carbohydrates, the body can form ketones and releases them into the blood. This causes ketosis, which may lead to fatigue and nausea.

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Discuss this Article

disciples
Post 9

Has anyone tried using living harvest hemp protein powder? What were your impressions and have you used other protein powders that you can compare it to? Thanks!

BAU79
Post 8

I just started lifting weights to try to add some weight to my frame. What is the best protein powder for packing on muscle fast?

A little back story; I am 23 and have been rail thin all my life. Right now I am 5'10'' and weigh 125 pounds.

I would like to put on at least 15 pounds. Is this realistic and can I do it with exercise and protein powder alone?

Belted
Post 7

I had a friend in high school that suffered some pretty serious negative heath consequences from having a lack of protein in his diet from being a vegetarian.

I just recently became a vegetarian myself and I am worried that this night be a problem for me too. How much should I be worried and what are the best ways to get protein from non-meat sources?

submariner
Post 3

I would like to point out the fact that a combination of incomplete proteins is proven to be just as effective as eating complete proteins. I would also like to add that incomplete proteins do not need to be combined at every meal.

Vegetarians get plenty of protein from foods that have a limiting amino acid. There are also vegetarian options for complete proteins. Hemp and soy contain all nine of the essential amino acids that the human body cannot synthesize. Organic hemp protein powder and non-gmo soy protein powder are both worthy substitutes for animal protein.

GlassAxe
Post 2

The article pointed out that too much of a good thing can be bad. Use caution when on a high protein diet. Most complete proteins come with unwanted ingredients. Dairy, eggs, and red meats have large amounts of cholesterol. Some high protein foods also contain large amounts of fats, some of which are not so good for you. It is best to limit the saturated and trans fats in a high protein diet.

It is important to make sure you are limiting high cholesterol proteins, and increasing consumption of dark and leafy vegetables. The body needs good cholesterol to go with the bad.

If you are looking to gain muscle mass, it might be a good idea to spend a little more and buy protein powder with less cholesterol (especially if you are an older adult). Cheap whey protein powder is not as good for the body as most high quality protein powders on the market.

sputnik
Post 1

Protein seems to have a direct effect on bone mass. It is particularly important that people eating reduced calorie diet eat enough protein to maintain healthy bones.

The best proteins are lean meats, fish and dairy products that are low in fat.

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