Our bodies crave protein. It’s a “macronutrient” after all. National Protein Day, on February 27, focuses on the health benefits of one of the body’s most basic building blocks.
Remember, protein helps develop bones, skin, cartilage, and blood — while promoting weight loss and increased muscle mass. It can also help us stay fit throughout all stages of life. High-protein foods include everything from salmon to pumpkin seeds. (Read on for more.) Are you getting enough? Here’s your fun guide to this crucial nutrition source.
NATIONAL PROTEIN DAY - SURVEY RESULTS
NATIONAL PROTEIN DAY TIMELINE
Protein trumps calories
Researchers at Wake Forest University found that “a high-protein, low-calorie diet helped overweight older adults lose more pounds, maintain more muscle mass, improve bone quality, and lose ‘bad’ fat.”
Protein identified for weight loss
A federal study put 12 healthy women on a high-protein diet. The result? They experienced “greater feelings of fullness and less hunger” than the group that ate a lower-protein diet.
Carl von Voit championed protein
Germany’s Carl von Voit, an early nutritional scientist (and dietician), believed that protein was the most important nutrient for maintaining the structure of the body.
Protein first mentioned
Dutch chemist Gerardus Johannes Mulder described proteins for the first time.
NATIONAL PROTEIN DAY ACTIVITIES
Try an alternative protein source or two.
Lean meats and eggs are great sources of protein, but why not branch out a bit this Protein Day. Give quinoa a try, or lentils, edamame, or even tofu. The fact is that there are tons of protein-packed foods that can be prepared in delicious ways. Expand those protein horizons.
Eat the right amount
Ideal protein intake varies by weight. Nutrition experts recommend around 46 grams per day for women, and 56 for men — but age, activity level, muscle mass, physical goals, and your current health all play an important role.
See a doctor or nutritionist
Examine your diet and seek advice on how much protein you need. The National Academy of Medicine actually sets a wide range —anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of calories each day.
5 FOODS PROTEIN LOVERS OBSESS OVER
Protein from egg whites are considered a “perfect” protein. That’s because an egg white contains all the essential amino acids (protein building blocks) that your body doesn’t produce.
Added benefit: Seafood is generally a lean source of protein. Much of the fat in fin fish comes from omega-3 fatty acids (that’s the good kind).
Not easy to pronounce, but super healthy all the same. What else would you expect form a modern-day superfood?
Is there anything this powerhouse veggie can’t do? There are so many delicious ways to prepare broccoli, we’re running out of excuses.
Hint: If you’re looking to lose weight, skip the oil-roasted pumpkin seeds and choose dry-roasted instead. Remember this next Halloween!
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL PROTEIN DAY
We have protein throughout our bodies. Muscles? Definitely. But also in our bones, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue. That’s why protein intake is so important to maintaining good health.
Protein helps us lose weight
Since protein increases metabolism, it provides energy to help us naturally burn calories. Replacing fat and carbs with protein suppresses appetite-increasing hormones — steering us away from those ominous late-night snacks.
It’s readily available
Sources include fish, poultry, beans, nuts, dairy, vegetables and more. Three Bridges offers certain dishes specifically designed to help increase protein consumption.