Protein Power
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: WELLNESS, 2021

Protein Power

Among the many important nutrients we get from a healthy, diversified diet is protein. Here are a few things you might not know about this essential piece of the nutrition puzzle.

  1. Protein is best known for building muscle, but it is important for building all over your body, including your bones. Protein can even help prevent osteoporosis and broken bones.
  2. Your organs could not function without protein. The essential nutrient builds organs and helps them run smoothly. It also helps move nutrients—like vitamins, minerals, sugars, cholesterol, and oxygen—throughout the body. It also helps store surpluses of iron for later use.
  3. Protein is an important building block for the components that make up the immune system too. The amino acids that make up protein are used to make T cells, B cells, and antibodies that alert the body to intruders and kill them off before they can cause an infection.  And when you get a cut or a scrape, protein is there to support immune function, manage inflammation, and heal the wound by creating new tissue.
  4. Getting enough protein helps you look and feel your best too. It is a building block of healthy hair and nails.
  5. Is there anything protein can’t do? Well, protein is your body’s least favorite choice for making energy. It uses sugars (carbohydrates) first and fats second before finally moving on to protein.
  6. Lean meats and fish are great sources of protein, including turkey, chicken, tuna, and sardines. Eggs, yogurt (especially Greek- and skyr-style yogurts), and cottage cheese offer lots of protein too. But meat and dairy are not the only places you can get protein. There are so many wonderful plant-based sources too. Lentils, avocados, nuts, beans, tempeh, snap peas, and mushrooms are good sources. And studies about protein from plants show that it can help lower blood pressure. It can also decrease your LDL, or bad cholesterol levels, which lowers your risk of heart disease.
  7. Surprisingly, several grain, or carbohydrate-rich foods are also pretty high in protein, including oats (5 g per cup), baked potato (8 g each), sweet corn (4 g per ear), and Quinoa (8 g per cup).   
  8. And protein is so satisfying! Protein takes longer to break down in your stomach, so making protein a part of each meal will leave you feeling fuller longer than meals without protein.
  9. Most people should get at least 10% of their daily calories from protein. That’s about 56 grams for a man (based on 2,000 calories a day) and 46 grams for a woman (1,800 calories a day).
  10. Protein and unhealthy fats are linked in many of our favorite foods, like red meat and cheese, so it is wise to use caution when portioning these foods. Embracing protein in its high-fat or processed forms can be linked to adverse outcomes, like cancer, high cholesterol, kidney stones, weight gain, and constipation.

Now that you understand all that protein can do for you, it’s time to explore some new recipes with these protein-rich ingredients. Cheers!

Kristin Irace, RD, is a registered dietitian with Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care in Bennington.

Print
9954

Theme picker

«December 2022»
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
2829301234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930311
2345678

Theme picker


Theme picker


Our Services

PARTNERSHIP IS POWERFUL MEDICINE

A commitment to excellence and a patient-centered approach sets Southwestern Vermont Health Care apart.

 Cancer Care
 Orthopedics
 Emergency
 Maternity
 Primary Care
 ExpressCare
 Cardiology
 Rehab & Residential Care
View All Services

Theme picker

Theme picker

Theme picker