Protein, specifically the amino acids found in protein, are required by our bodies to break down food, repair cells and maintain bodily functions. Protein is important for growth and development especially during childhood, adolescence and pregnancy. Finding ways to consume protein can be relatively simple, as there are many sources, both animal and plant that provide our bodies with the proteins it requires. Animal sources include meats such as beef, chicken and pork; dairy like cheese or milk; seafood including tuna, salmon, shrimp, and scallops; and eggs. Protein sources found in plant material may include soy, nuts, beans, and some grains like wheat germ.
Unlike carbohydrates, your body does not store protein, so it is important to maintain your protein levels throughout the day, to keep your body balanced, with the average woman needing about 46 grams of protein a day, and the average man requiring closer to 56 grams. Maintaining a well balanced protein diet can serve to speed recovery after exercise, aid in maintaining and building muscle mass, work to sustain a healthy weight, and help to curb hunger. About half of the protein consumed in a day is used by your body to make enzymes, specialized proteins that digest foods, and work to make new cells and chemical substances.
While it is important to ensure that you get your daily intake of protein, a diet too high in protein can contribute to raised cholesterol, and may put undue strain on your kidneys. Consuming excess proteins can lead to a build up of toxic ketones, a substance that the body uses to consume its own fat cells when lacking in carbohydrates. Ketones however are harmful on the kidneys, as they try to eliminate them from the body, as well as a larger amount of water loss through the kidneys, leading to dehydration. Stress on the heart may increase and bone calcium may decline. A high protein low carb diet may also lead to a deficiency in certain fibres and vitamins in your diet. The best choice is to maintain a healthy, balanced diet, that consists of the recommended amounts of protein, to help keep you strong and balanced beginning from within.
Written by Stacey Oswald RMT