Welcome to the journey of vibrant health, where we navigate the maze of wellness with a focus on a crucial aspect often overlooked – protein. As a seasoned pharmacist and health coach with over 24 years of experience, I’ve witnessed the impact of chronic diseases, muscle wasting, and sarcopenia. It’s this wealth of experience that fuels my passion for disease prevention and the critical role that PRIORITISING PROTEIN plays in the foundation of good health. It’s so crucial that I highlighted it as one of 3 strategies for foundational health in my keynote speech at the AFT International Sports Festival. You can watch it here.
What is protein and where are you getting it?
Protein Basics: Fueling Your Body’s Engine
Protein, alongside fats and carbohydrates, is an indispensable nutrient vital for optimal health. Imagine your body as a car; fats and carbs are the fuel, but protein is the actual car itself. Beyond structural support for bones, teeth, hair, and nails, protein acts as the building block for muscles, organ tissues, blood, and more. It plays a pivotal role in various bodily functions, from regulating hormones to creating immune cells, repairing tissues, and producing essential enzymes.
The Risks of Protein Deficiency
Deficiency in protein can lead to severe consequences, with sarcopenia involving the loss of muscle mass, and the potential worst-case scenario would be losing heart muscle mass. Protein deficiency affects organs, from the developing brain to the immune system and gut mucosal function. Signs of deficiency include muscle wasting, fluid build-up, anemia, and slow growth, particularly alarming in children.
How much protein do we need?
Understanding Protein Requirements: Fueling the Body Adequately
To ensure optimal health, understanding protein requirements is crucial. The recommended minimum intake is 0.84-0.94 grams per kilogram of body weight depending on age and gender, established in 20061. However, this guideline might not account for the increased protein needs of today’s larger population, especially when relying on lower-quality protein sources like ultra-processed fast food.
Protein helps manage appetite, food cravings, and food metabolism
Protein and Healthy Aging: The Science Behind It
Protein isn’t just about structure; it’s a multifaceted nutrient with profound effects on overall well-being. It manages appetite, food cravings, and food metabolism. When combined with regular resistance exercises, adequate dietary protein helps build and maintain lean body mass, strength, and facilitates healthy aging. Australia’s CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation) recommends 1.2-1.6 grams of protein per kilogram per day for healthy aging and muscle health.2
Strategies for Optimal Protein Intake: Quality Matters
When it comes to choosing protein sources, quality is paramount. Opt for unprocessed meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy as your primary sources. Not only do these options provide the necessary amount of protein, but they also offer an ideal amino acid makeup and high digestibility.
In essence, prioritising protein isn’t just a dietary choice; it’s a lifestyle commitment to ensuring your body receives the essential building blocks for longevity and vitality. Remember, the fountain of vitality awaits those who prioritise protein.
Stay tuned for the upcoming articles where I’ll delve into the other two strategies that are the foundations of good health (hint – we’ll talk about hydration and sleep).
For more tips on incorporating diverse foods to increase micronutrients in your diet, visit the PharmacistEdit.com website here.
- National Health and Medical Research Council, Australian Government Departmentof Health and Ageing, New Zealand Ministry of Health. Nutrient Reference Values forAustralia and New Zealand. Canberra: National Health and Medical Research Council; 2006.
- Noakes, M, (2018) Protein Balance: New Concepts forProtein in Weight Management; CSIRO, Australia.
This article was first published in https://pharmacistedit.com/protein/ and has been provided by Theresa Loo, specialist pharmacist, health coach, podcaster and cofounder of Pharmacist Edit.
Protein – where are you getting them? is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Quote Source: https://www.australiafitnesstoday.com/?p=14890&preview=true