3 Reasons Why Protein is Good for You
While many associate the benefits of protein exclusively with exercise enthusiasts, protein is actually super important for growth and repair of body tissues.
It’s a crucial nutrient that helps your body in all sorts of ways, like repairing tissue, producing hormones, and keeping your immune system strong. However, some might not realise just how essential protein really is, or what can happen to your body if you don’t get enough in your diet.
Read on to find out about the benefits of having a healthy level of protein in your diet, as well as how you can include more protein sources in your diet.
1. Protein keeps you fuller for longer
Just in terms of pure nutritional value, eating plenty of protein is essential to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
According to the British Nutrition Foundation, you should be eating 0.75g of protein per kilo of body weight per day – which works out as 45g for the average woman or 55g for the average man. If you don’t have a set of scales and a calculator to hand, we’d recommend aiming for at least two portions of protein sources per day, such as fish, meat, nuts, and tofu.
Your body needs the benefits of protein to grow and repair tissue, oxygenate your blood cells, and transport nutrients through your system. In short, we need protein to help complete all the crucial body functions that keep us happy and healthy!
Another benefit of a high protein diet is that you don’t crave snacks as much in-between meals. That’s because protein helps your stomach feel more full, compared to carbs or fats, letting you consume fewer calories throughout the day.
If you want more guidance on maintaining a balanced diet, read our article on the 7 easy steps towards a healthy diet.
2. A high protein diet helps you stay in shape
Do you associate the benefits of a high protein diet with hardcore body building and ultra-dedicated gym goers? Well, eating more protein can actually make a huge different to the lightest workout routines too.
No matter how much you exercise, your body needs protein to build and repair the muscles you used when working out. Without enough protein in your system, those muscles won’t have the nutrients they need to grow. In fact, you may find that your body starts to feel weaker and weaker after exercise, rather than growing in strength and endurance.
Just by introducing a few additional protein sources to your diet, such as a couple of eggs after every workout, you'll see noticeable benefits for future fitness routines. As with anything to do with the body, consistency is key, so try to stay on top of getting that extra protein if you're hitting the gym regularly.
3. Eating protein aids digestion
While eating plenty of fruit and veg is beneficial to gut health, did you know that the benefits of protein also extend to supporting a healthy digestive system, too?
For starters, protein helps produce more stomach acid, which breaks down the food in your belly and digest the essential nutrients. Those on low protein diets might find that they struggle with going to the toilet. That's because the lack of protein could be causing issues when absorbing the essential nutrients in your gut.
Don’t forget about the cell-repairing benefits of a high protein diet, either! Your digestive system is constantly experiencing wear and tear just by doing its daily function, with this tissue needing to be replaced just as regularly. Protein is good for keeping this system in tip-top condition, promoting all the necessary growth and repair to avoid any potential stomach problems down the line.
For more information on how to best look after your digestive system, head over to our gut health page.
How can I eat more protein in my diet?
Now you know the importance of protein, it’s time to think about how you can up your intake on a day-to-day basis. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of 4 top tips, below, to help you eat more protein-rich foods and reap the healthy rewards:
Research different protein sources: While adding more meat and fish to your diet might be the first things you think about when it comes to protein, there are many different types of protein-rich foods to add to your recipes. For example, eggs, Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, tofu, chickpeas, lentils, and nuts are all fantastic protein sources.
Switch up your breakfast choice: We know how easy it can be to get into a habit of just eating toast or cereal every morning, but breakfast is typically the most protein-light meal of the day. To see how you can get more protein sources in your morning routine, check out our 3 easy and healthy breakfast ideas article.
Choose your snacks wisely: Rather than reach for the cupboard of crisps and biscuits in-between meals, try swapping these treats out for protein-rich snacks. Chow down on nuts and seeds, nibble on hard-boiled eggs, or break out the houmous and crudites to keep those hunger pangs at bay.
Sprinkle a protein source on your meals: A sure-fire way to increase your protein intake is to top your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with chopped nuts or seeds. Not only do you enjoy a satisfying crunch with every bite, but you can enjoy the added benefits of protein!
To find out more about how you can maintain a healthy diet, head over to our nutrition page on our Be Healthy hub. Here, you can find protein-rich recipes, such as our Cajun honey salmon, as well as information on how healthy eating can help mental health.
Medically reviewed by Llinos Connolly on March 2023. Next review date: March 2024.