THE TOP 7 REASONS TO ADD MORE PROTEIN TO YOUR DIET
Are you getting enough protein in your diet? While many foods we eat every day are high in protein, such as eggs, nuts and chicken breast, you still might not be getting the right amount. While this might not seem like a major deal at first, think again.
Why should you add more protein to your diet? Issues such as mood changes, poor skin and nail health, swelling and hunger are all just a few signs that you might need to step up your protein consumption. Here at Woodside, a gym near the plaza in Kansas City, we want to provide you with some information regarding the power of protein and just how it can help you reach your fitness goals as well as avoid these unpleasant side effects.
1.) REDUCE APPETITE AND HUNGER LEVELS
Fat, carbohydrates and protein aren’t just dieting buzzwords. In fact, they are three key macronutrients that have varying roles and impacts on the body. While each one is important, our focus today is on protein. According to various studies, protein is the one that leaves you feeling the most full while also consuming the least amount of food.
It does this in two different ways. One, it reduces the amount of ghrelin you have, which is a hormone that controls hunger. And two, it also bolsters peptide YY levels, which is a hormone that makes us feel more full.
2.) BETTER BONE STRENGTH
While we often think of dairy products such as milk and yogurt being good for bone health thanks to their high calcium levels, protein also plays a significant role. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that those who regularly consume protein tend to have stronger, healthier bones as they age as opposed to those who don’t. This also includes a reduced risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Women need to be especially mindful of bone health, as they are at an elevated risk for these types of health issues following menopause.
3.) CRACKS DOWN ON LATE NIGHT SNACKS
If you have ever fallen victim to midnight snacking and got caught red handed trying to open the extremely noisy plastic cake container in the middle of the night, this one’s for you. While cravings can be pretty hard to control, protein can actually help! After all, for many people, snacking isn’t something we do just because we’re hungry. Usually, our brain is seeking a reward or dopamine for doing something good. Alternatively, it can be a coping mechanism if we’ve had a rough day.
To help combat your cravings, start by ensuring that you have protein-rich foods incorporated into each meal. Also, instead of loading up on cookies or potato chips, keep healthier, protein packed foods in the house. Beef jerky, low fat cheese sticks and trail mix can all be excellent alternatives.
4.) BUILD MUSCLE MASS AND STRENGTH
As you probably remember from your high school biology class, protein serves as the building blocks for our muscles. Therefore, in order to build bigger, denser muscles, you need to make sure you are getting the right amount of protein in your diet.
If you are regularly working out and doing strenuous exercises such as weight lifting and strength training, incorporating protein-rich foods into your meals every day will go a long way in maximizing your efforts. Also, keeping your protein intake high while losing weight will ensure that you don’t lose muscle mass in the process.
5.) KICK START YOUR METABOLISM
Thanks to a process called the thermic effect of food (TEF), eating can actually boost metabolism for a short period of time. TEF refers to how our bodies use and process the calories and nutrients from our food. That being said, it’s important to note that not all foods are built the same in that regard. Protein has a much higher thermic effect than carbs or fat. With a high protein diet, the average person can burn up to 100 calories more in a day.
6.) HELPS TO LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure is a major concern for many Americans, as it is one of the leading causes behind heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. In fact, heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. But we do have good news: protein can actually work to help lower blood pressure.
Meat has a lot of protein in it, but so do many plants, including beans and nuts. If you’re eating meat, be sure to opt for lean beef or chicken breast so you can get protein without too much additional fat. Having too fatty of a diet can impact heart health. Another good tip would be to swap out a meat-centric meal once a week for something vegetarian and still high in protein, such as lentil soup.
7.) REACH YOUR WEIGHT LOSS GOALS
When looking to lose weight, it is important to do it in a natural, healthy way. Unfortunately, there are so many diet and weight loss fads out there that it can be tough to know what’s real and what’s fake. But by taking what we’ve learned so far, it’s pretty easy to see how protein can help propel you toward your weight loss and fitness goals. By cutting back cravings, helping you feel fuller longer and allowing you to gain muscle faster, protein-packed foods can be a very positive diet choice.
CHECK OUT WOODSIDE
Here at our gym near the Plaza in Kansas City, we aren’t just about working out or lifting weights. We understand that health, wellness and fitness all come together as a package deal. It’s important to take care of every aspect. That is why once you’re done with your workout, or even before, we want you to stop by our Kitchen.
Food serves as fuel for your body, and you want to make sure you’re giving yourself the premium grade stuff. Here in our Kitchen, our Executive Chef has created a tailor-made seasonal menu with a multitude of delicious and nutritious options to choose from. And yes, this does include protein packed options that you will love!
Not only that, but we also feature the Midwest’s only Earthbar. This west coast-based health company has been around since 1971 and creates a whole line of products, including smoothies, shakes, juices, tinctures and more. If you’re on the go, pay the Earthbar a visit for a quick post workout protein shake.