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Chrissy's Q&A: "Why is Protein So Important?

Chrissy's Q&A is a bi-weekly feature from Apex Performance Integration's assistant coach, Chrissy Mangold. If you have a question, feel free to submit it in the comments below!

I feel like protein is one thing most people don’t understand or know much about. I was one of those people. I didn’t realize how much it would improve my diet and workouts!

By definition, protein is any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds that have large molecules composed of one or more long-chain amino acids and are essential parts of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.

Of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats), protein is the most filling. You feel more full eating less food. That is because protein reduces the hunger hormone ghrelin and activates the YY hormone that makes you feel full. It boosts your metabolism because protein has a higher thermos effect than fat and carbs. A high-protein diet can also increase the number of calories you burn in a day, roughly 80-100 more calories. Burning more calories by eating a specific type of food? Now that's what I’m talking about!

So why else is protein so important?

Protein is the building block of our muscles. Muscles are made mostly of protein. So, whether you are trying to lose weight or gain weight, you need to add more protein to your diet. Eating plenty of protein helps build muscle and strength. It also prevents muscle loss especially when trying to lose weight or as we age.

There are major benefits for your bone health and lowering blood pressure. A higher protein diet helps lower your risk of osteoporosis and less chance of breaking your bones if you fall. As women, we are at high risk for osteoporosis after menopause. Protein helps this incredibly. So, you can see there are many benefits to protein. As the definition above says, it is an essential part of all living organisms. The body needs it. To start, I recommend tracking how much protein you eat in a day. Most people don’t even reach 100 grams. The recommended daily amount can vary depending on the literature, but I prefer consuming your body weight or ideal body weight in grams of protein- especially if you're strength training on a regular basis. Check out my article on strength training and workout frequency where I explain my opinions on these topics.

I challenge you to track and see where you're at. Get that protein in!



P.S. If you are confused or feel overwhelmed, we are here to help at API. Please feel free to comment below or send an inquiry here.

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