Health Benefits of Protein

Protein is a vital dietary component and a prime compound that is found in every cell in the body. Some of the best natural sources of protein include fish, meat, eggs, poultry, milk products, nuts, beans, and grains.

Experts recommend intake of at least 2 to 3 servings of protein per day.

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Adequate intake of protein is crucial to ensure that necessary amount of protein is supplied to the body.

Some of the major functions of protein include promoting proper function of cells and tissues; controlling weight; and reducing the risk of developing certain chronic disorders. Read on to learn some of the major health benefits of protein.

Prevents Diseases 

Certain kinds of protein can work by reducing the incidence of chronic diseases.

The Harvard School of Public Health has reported that the risk of type 2 Diabetes and heart disease can be reduced by the consumption of a diet rich in essential fat and vegetable sources of protein.

Some of the natural sources of rich protein include legumes, such as peanuts, beans, lentils and soybeans.

These types of protein offer various health benefits by regulating the blood sugar levels and by reducing the high cholesterol levels in the body. Although good sources of protein can keep one fit and healthy; however, the effect of proteins in reducing chronic diseases requires further research.

Regeneration of Cells

Proteins promote the growth and regeneration of body cells. Dietary intake of protein is crucial to stimulate cell repair and regeneration of new cells in the body.

The protein requirement is high in young people, especially during puberty, as various systemic changes occur in the body often due to growth spurts. About 34 g of protein is required in children in an age group between 9 and 13 years; while young children from 4 to 8 years of age require 19 g of protein per day.

Moreover, the protein requirement is higher in case of women during pregnancy and in lactating mothers.

Boosts Immune function

It has been reported that protein strengthens the immune system by stimulating the white blood cells (defense system in the body) which prevents the diseases of the upper respiratory tract.

Hence, it is advised to take adequate protein after performing high intensity workouts to avoid weakened function of the immune system.

Controls Weight

The function of protein in the body_2

In general, high-protein foods such as chicken, beef, fish and beans are slowly digested in the stomach when compared to various other types of food.

As a result, protein foods create a feeling of stomach fullness for longer duration and one can keep away from food craving which promotes weight loss. In addition, a diet that is high in protein and low in carbs can prove counterproductive and have long term adverse effects on health.

Promotes Bone development

It has been reported that high-protein diets such as meat can increase the level of a hormone called insulin like growth factor I (IGF-I) that stimulates the development of bone structure.

Moreover, it has been proven that it is not detrimental to be on proteins derived from beef and other meats as they can promote bone health.

Written by: Dr Chaitra Shivaramaiah

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