First, you don't work out? There are so many benefits for the mind and body with exercise, but we will get into that another blog post.
Here are the top reasons why you should take protein, even if you don't workout.
1. BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
The immune system has a fantastic defense against infection and sickness. The immunoglobulins in the immune system are comprised of protein and play an important role in viral detection and resistance. Maintaining a strong army of antibodies requires adequate dietary protein, which may be jeopardized by lack of protein or reduced overall calorie consumption.
2. TRANSPORTS VITAL BODY COMPOUNDS
The body contains a variety of compounds that facilitate the transfer of materials from one area to another, and they're all composed of proteins. Hemoglobin in blood, for example, transports oxygen as well as lipoproteins, which enables the movement of lipid molecules in watery blood.
Your digestive system begins to work (breaking down protein into smaller components) after you eat protein, and the subsequent absorption of digestive end products allows tissues and cells to convert food's potential energy from the protein into useful energy. From protein, those smaller components are amino acids, which some are essential, meaning you need to consume them, and they are as follows histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
We will touch on only a few of them below.
Lysine: Among the many functions of Lysine is its ability to help form collagen and repair tissue in the body.
Branched Chains (leucine, isoleucine, valine): Branched chain amino acids (BCAA's), are three amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They differ from other aminos in that they are metabolized in the muscles not the liver. Branched chain aminos offer potent anabolic and tissue sparing qualities, and yield metabolic by-products that boost energy production. After BCAA's are ingested and absorbed into the blood stream, they are rapidly picked up by the muscle tissue. Muscles actually appear to be hungry for these particular amino acids. Once in the muscle, BCAA's act as nitrogen carriers to assist the muscle to synthesize other amino acids needed for muscle growth. BCAA's also function to allow circulating glucose to be taken up by muscle cells and used as an energy source.
3. LINKED TO BETTER GUT HEALTH
Gut bacteria may benefit from a protein-rich diet, according to this study. This does not necessarily imply that a high-protein diet is beneficial to your gut health, but there are components in the microbiome that are derived from protein.
4. CONTROLS APPETITE AND KEEPS YOU SATISFIED LONGER
Research has shown that protein can help to decrease hunger and extend the feeling of fullness, which is why a high-protein meal or snack may be beneficial. A greater protein intake (starting at 30 grams) has been found to reduce appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin in the early stages of a meal, as well as increase satiety hormone CCK. This implies that you will feel more satisfied after eating.
As part of a healthy lifestyle, you should try to consume multiple meals throughout the day with each a few hours apart. Protein shakes are perfect for this because they can be prepared quickly and easily so you won't miss a meal.
How much protein intake is optimal? What amount will provide the benefits without too many added calories?
The average person needs 0.5g per lb. of bodyweight daily, but active people need more like 1g per lb. of bodyweight daily to help prevent muscle loss when on a calorie deficit diet for fat loss.
What the best times are to ingest protein?
There are certain windows during the day where your body is most receptive to absorbing nutrients, some being after your workout. Some other times that are optimal are first thing in the morning and before you go to bed. Before you go to bed is a great time to get protein into your body. As you are sleeping, your body is recovering. Giving your body some added horsepower through essential amino acids allows it to take better advantage of the recovery time during sleep.
A 2011 study explored the loss of muscle mass with age. Sixteen “healthy elderly men” participated in the study. Eight ingested casein, a slow-digesting protein, before bed. The other half had a placebo. Casein protein users had a better overnight whole-body protein balance. Even in older and less active individuals, dietary protein before sleep promoted muscular growth.
The takeaway is that without adequate protein intake throughout the day, your body is unable to recover optimally. Your body simply won’t have enough vital amino acids during sleep to support muscle health.
So yes you should be taking enough protein even if you don't workout, there are many benefits to help you maintain lean body mass, feel great, and live a long healthy life.
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