7 Surprising Ways Protein Can Impact Your Health

1. Prolongs Feelings Of Fullness

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

In a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, researchers at Purdue University found that a high-protein diet triggers feelings of fullness between meals.

“Protein is more complex so it takes the body longer to break down. Therefore, you stay full longer,” says Laura Cipullo, R.D., owner of L’ifestyle Lounge in Closter, New Jersey.

2. Keeps You Energized

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

According to Premier Protein®, you’ll have more energy with the right mix of protein, carbs and fats, as it takes a while for the body to digest protein, resulting in a consistent energy supply.

“[Protein] provides you with sustained output of energy, so the body is slowly getting energy,” Laura said.

In comparison, indulging in a carbohydrate-rich diet will supply the body with a quick fix of energy, but also lead to a fast crash.

3. Boosts Mood

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The hormones in our brain that regulate mood (like serotonin and epinephrin) are made up of amino acids, which the body gets from eating proteins. In the body, carbohydrates and protein work together to achieve mood stability.

“In order to have a stable mood, you need to have the essential amino acids that you would be getting in a protein shake,” says Laura. “They’re the building blocks of hormones.”

4. Supports The Immune System

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

The antibodies that bind to viruses and alert the immune system of an infection are actually a type of protein.

A high dose of protein in our diet helps build up our antibody supply, which contributes to immune system function.

5. Contributes To Hair Health

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth.

“Hair is made of keratin, and protein makes up that keratin,” Laura said.

With enough protein in our diet, our hair has the nutrients it needs to grow and stay healthy. On the other hand, an inadequate amount of protein can result in thin, brittle hair and even hair loss.

“Nutritional deficiency may impact both hair structure and hair growth…. [and] can result in hair changes that include hair thinning and hair loss,” a study published in Dermatology Practical & Conceptual concluded.

6. Strengthens The Skin

Laura Caseley for LittleThings

Collagen, one of the most abundant proteins in the body, is what gives the skin its elasticity and prevents signs of aging, like wrinkles.

In fact, a study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found that increased collagen intake can improve the skin’s moisture and elasticity, thereby reducing the number of wrinkles.

7. Supports Normal Blood Sugar Levels

When proteins are eaten in combination with other macronutrients, they slow down the absorption process and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

“When you eat a carbohydrate with a protein, it will be digested more slowly,” Laura explained. “The carbohydrate will be digested and absorbed at the rate of the protein, so your blood sugar will slowly increase rather than dramatically increase.”

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