Protein is actually important for every cell in your body.
Hair and nails are made up of mostly protein.
It is a major nutrient when it comes to your body building and repairing tissues.
Your body also uses protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals.
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
And believe it or not, protein is essential when it comes to immunity.
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a macronutrient; meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein for future use, and therefore your body has no store to draw on when it needs a new supply. However, if you consume more protein than your body needs and/or demands, the excess protein will be broken down into glycogen and stored in the body for later use - as fat.
So, your next question probably is, how many grams of protein should I consume a day? Unfortunately, a lot of the information at your fingertips are opinions, highly inaccurate, and not research based. And believe it or not, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) you see on nutrition labels, is the MINIMUM amount recommended to prevent disease and is highly outdated - this number was determined in the 1900s, based on young males being drafted. Your protein demands depend on your activity level, age, and body composition (lean body weight - muscle mass - in comparison to overall body weight). So when I calculate protein demands for each client, I base their needs on 1g per pound of their IDEAL BODY WEIGHT (in which ideal body weight is calculated using an equation, considering the clients gender and height) and their lean muscle mass.
Quality of protein you consume is also important. For example, protein in a hot dog vs protein in a freshly butchered chicken breast. Obviously, the protein in the chicken breast is unprocessed and of higher quality. The same goes for the protein supplements you consume. The process used to manufacture the protein supplement, the ingredients included, additives, preservatives, etc., all play a huge role in the protein supplement’s quality as well.
Be smart about what you are consuming and take caution even if it is labeled ‘healthy’. Do your research or contact someone who can help guide you and educate you on what is healthy and of the best quality for optimal health. As always, if you’re looking for that person to reach out too, I would be more than happy to help! 🙂