You’ve heard that in order to get the maximum benefits from your workout, you need to refuel your body with protein. While carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, protein has a different role. Here are some reasons your body needs protein.
Fun facts about protein
- Did you know that there are more than 20,000 genes in the human body that produce protein? That’s a lot!
- Every single cell in your body is made up of protein. Whoa.
- Protein is the second most plentiful substance in the body after water.
- In fact, 18-20 percent of your body weight is protein.
- Unlike fat and carbs, your body does not store protein. That means you need to eat enough daily to get the recommended supply.
- Eating too much protein (like fat or carbs) will lead to weight gain and can stress the liver and kidneys.
Reasons your body needs protein
More than just muscle. Protein is not only used to repair and build muscle, but also bones, cartilage, skin and blood. On top of all that, protein regulates hormones, enzymes and other chemicals in the body. Some common hormones include adrenaline, leptin, human growth hormone, testosterone, estrogen and insulin. Enzymes, which speed chemical reactions, include lactase, pepsin, lipase and peptidase.
Transport nutrients. There are a bunch of nutrients that need to be transported throughout the body. Not only is protein needed to aid in muscle contractions, but it’s also required to maintain electrolyte balance (that’s your body’s sodium/potassium balance). Apart from that, protein in the blood (hemoglobin) transports oxygen from the lungs to rest of the body. Then it brings carbon dioxide from the cells back to the lungs where you breathe it out.
Stay healthy. When your body is attacked by viruses and bacteria, you can stay healthy if you’re able to efficiently create antibodies. Antibodies fight those viruses and bacteria to keep your immune system functioning properly. Once your body is exposed to a certain virus or bacterium and develops those antibodies, you build immunity to protect your body against further illness.
These are just a few reasons your body needs protein to function properly. There are many more, and if you’re wondering about those other reasons your body needs protein, just let me know! I’d love to answer your questions.