Protein is an essential macronutrient that our bodies need for normal healthy functioning. One thing I have noticed for many of my clients and athletes is that they do not consume adequate amounts of protein. This has detrimental consequences for proper health and performance. Instead they initially come in on a high carbohydrate diet making optimization difficult. Here are my top 3 reasons to increase protein consumption:
- Improved immune function - The first ~30g of protein consumed in a day is primarily used for phase 2 of detoxification (provides the needed amino acids). The next 30g for immune system function to create antibodies and WBC to keep the body healthy. The best time to start this is immediately in the morning after waking to set the body up better for the rigours of the day.
- Improved exercise recovery and performance - Protein is what the body uses to repair muscle and connective tissue after training or competition. Complete protein sources with a larger amount of Essential Amino Acids and Leucine is key here. Leucine has been proven in scientific literature to be a primary driver in muscle protein synthesis. While Essential Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein that the body cannot make on its own. This is what you want immediately post training/competition for recovery purposes.
- Improved body composition - protein consumption is often linked to reduced body fat amounts and overall general leanness. High protein foods actually cause the body to warm up, meaning it costs more energy (calories) to digest the food source especially, meat/fish sources.
Bonus: increased protein consumption is linked to greater bone density. On its own this is excellent for long term health and injury prevention.