The vital importance of protein cannot be overstated. In this age of 3rd world eating practices, protein's necessity, especially for athletes, has often been disparaged and understated. Consider the following excerpts from an article by Dr. Axe. I would like to add this comment, as the body can tolerate long-term abuses(drinking, smoking, etc.) as well as nutritional deficiencies, you can be assured that somewhere down the line, be it months or years, you will pay the price for these abuses and deficiencies.
Eating too little protein can result in these symptoms:
•A sluggish metabolism
•Trouble losing weight
•Trouble building muscle mass
•Low energy levels and fatigue
•Poor concentration and trouble learning
•Moodiness and mood swings
•Muscle, bone and joint pain
•Blood sugar changes that can lead to diabetes
•Slow wound healing
8 Health Benefits of Eating Foods with Protein
1. Help Improve Muscle Mass
2. Help Manage Your Weight By Filling You Up. High-protein foods cause increased satiety to a greater extent than carbohydrates or fats, so they can prevent overeating and snacking. It’s usually much easier to overeat carbohydrates, especially if they’re refined or sweetened, than it is to overeat healthy protein foods.
3. Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
4. Help Improve Your Mood Certain amino acids from protein foods are needed to balance hormones naturally, control your mood and act as a natural remedy for anxiety. Proteins help neurotransmitters function and synthesize hormones like dopamine and serotonin that calm us and keep our outlook positive
5. Promote Healthy Brain Function and Learning
6. Help Maintain Strong Bones
7. Promote Heart Health
8. Slow Aging and Promote Longevity
One of the key roles of protein foods is helping the body to synthesize glutathione, often called the “master antioxidant.” Glutathione is stored within our own cells and helps us to detox and reduce carcinogens that age us. Animal and human studies both show that adequate protein intake is crucial for the maintenance of glutathione and helps the body stay in a state of balanced “homeostasis.” Glutathione deficiency contributes to oxidative stress, which plays a key role in age-related diseases.
For those who are vegetarians and related--
People following a low calorie, vegan or vegetarian diet are especially at a higher risk for missing out on important amino acids, since animal foods are considered “complete proteins” (meaning they contain all essential amino acids) but many plant foods are not. It’s possible to combine different plant foods in order to create a combination that has all essential amino acids – such as eating rice with beans or vegetables with whole grains, for example – but some health experts believe this is not as optimal as eating foods that are complete protein sources.
It’s best to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day instead of a very large serving only once or twice. This gives your body the right amount of protein it needs at any given time, since only so much can be utilized at once (the rest will be stored as fat or eliminated). Because your body cannot store protein, eating it throughout the day is the surest way to balance your blood sugar level, ward off hunger and support your metabolism. This is especially important around the time of exercise when protein-rich pre-workout snacks can go a long way.
Top 11 Protein Foods to Include in Your Diet
1. Grass-fed beef (4) — 3 ounces: 19 grams (46% DV)
2. Bone broth protein — ¼ cup/about 1 serving: 20 grams
3. Lentils (6) — 1 cup: 18 grams (36% DV)
4. Wild fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc.) (7) —3 ounces salmon: 17 grams (40% DV)
5. Organic chicken (8) — 1 chicken breast: 16 grams (38% DV)
6. Black beans (or other beans) (9) — 1 cup: 15 grams
7. Natto (10) — ½ cup: 15 grams
8. Raw milk (11) — 1 cup: 8 grams (16% DV)
9. Kefir or yogurt (12) — 6 ounces: 6–9 grams (16%DV)
10. Free-range eggs (13) — 1 large: 7 grams(14% DV)
11. Raw cheese (14) — 1 ounce goat cheese: 7 grams (14% DV)
So how much protein is needed?--Dr. Axe gives the following--
I recommend you take your body weight and multiply that number by .5 The result is the amount in grams of protein you should ideally aim to eat each day. For example, a woman who weighs 150 pounds would aim to eat 75 grams of protein daily and a man who weighs 180 pounds would shoot for 90 grams.
Overall, I recommend that you make about 30 percent of your plate a high-quality source of protein at every meal. This ensures you eat enough throughout the day to meet your needs and prevents you from overeating carbs and junk foods.
I have read from other credible sources that a gram of protein per bodyweight is what is needed for the serious athlete.
Either way,look at what you are eating today, are you getting enough protein?