I was interested to recently read about the studies undertaken by the CSIRO in relation to the importance of protein in our diet. I'm sure very few of us know just how essential protein is to maintaining good health. I'm also sure most rarely consider how little protein we include in our diet.
The latest research by the CSIRO confirms for most of us, there needs to be an increase of protein in our diet, particularly as we age and even more so if we are overweight. The daily amount of protein recommended will depend on our weight. Eg for someone weighing 50kg it is suggested 60-80g; 60kg 72-96g; 120 kg 144-192g. A chart is available on the CSIRO website which is a good guide.
The CSIRO found increasing our protein intake at breakfast time, can be helpful in reducing sugar cravings, particularly later in the day which is when most will suffer from sugar cravings and hunger pangs. Unfortunately, many of us consume most of our protein in our evening meal which isn't as beneficial. If we want to control our hunger it is far better to evenly distribute our consumption of protein throughout the day ie at least with each main meal. An example would be 25g at breakfast, 25g at lunch, 40g at dinner and 10g in snacks.
There are many other reasons why we require protein in our diet. Did you know:
Every cell in our body requires protein to maintain its life
Proteins are essential for tissue repair and the construction of new tissue
Protein is the main substance used to replace worn out or dead cells with most white blood cells being replaced every 10 days, skin cells being replaced every 24 days, the cells in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and blood platelets being replaced every 4 days and finally 98% of the molecules in the body being completely replaced each year!
Our muscles, hair, nails, skin and eyes are made of protein
The cells making up our liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, nerves, brain and sex glands are made of protein
Hormones secreted from your thyroid, pancreas and pituitary require protein.
So, now you know why we would all benefit from ensuring we include adequate protein in our diet. The average diet contains a high percentage of carbohydrates and a small amount of protein. Breakfast usually consists of cereal or toast (very little protein), morning snack maybe fruit or a biscuit (still no protein), salad sandwich for lunch (still no protein) although maybe a slice of meat or cheese has been added to the sandwich which will provide a small amount of protein, and then for dinner of course most people will have their serving of protein usually being meat or fish.
When you consider how essential protein is to good health, I think we would agree the average person is certainly not consuming enough protein. Because protein is necessary to maintain good muscle strength it is obvious someone exercising regularly will need to increase protein to repair and rebuild muscle. Protein will also assist in energy levels. It is also important to be aware as we age it is far more difficult for our bodies to build and maintain muscle.
Often, we find customers complaining of splitting, broken, slow growing nails will find increasing protein in their diet solves this problem. Why, because their nails are made of protein. Customers complaining of listless and thinning hair find protein helps because hair is made of protein. Skin which may have too many wrinkles for our age, may lack protein. When we look at the information above, we can only imagine how important protein is for optimum health of the elderly. Once again, it's amazing how often we receive feedback from elderly customers on how their health has improved after increasing the protein in their diet.
So how do we increase protein? We would recommend a variety of complete protein foods such as fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, eggs, red meat, legumes, tofu and nuts. An easy way to include protein in our diet is to use protein powder. Protein powder can be sprinkled over our muesli, included in a smoothie or our homemade protein bliss balls. You can even blend it into a soup. Below is the recipe for one of my favourite protein packed bliss balls.
There are many protein powders on the market. Whey protein isolate (WPI) has always been popular. We package our own bulk WPI which means it is very economical for our customers. I often use a combination of pea and rice protein. Pea protein is alkalising to the body plus far more easily digested.
For more information on protein supplementation or any other health subject call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay.