We need protein in our diet to stay healthy. But how much do we need so we don’t experience negative, long-term health effects?
Protein provides essential amino acids to keep our bodies healthy. Diets that restrict protein may be placing you in future danger. On a day-to-day basis, consuming too little protein may make you lethargic. You may have an increased appetite. Either way, you’re not putting yourself in harm’s way—at least not today. On a long-term health scale however, too little protein will eventually cause cellular breakdown.
Protein amino acids help build cellular structure. They keep “housing” cells strong and functional. Such cells may be those that strengthen the walls of your heart. They fortify the muscles that protect your bones. Without the necessary amount of amino acids, those cellular structures will become weakened over time.
How much protein we need is still up for debate. Some experts recommend consistent helpings throughout the day. A side benefit is that protein helps you feel fuller and provides energy for a longer period. All are in agreement, however, that some protein is better than none.
What happens if there’s too little consumption of protein? Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutrition science at Purdue University offers his expertise. He explains that your body will compensate and rescue its most important parts. The body will “take amino acids from your skeletal muscle in order to supply your heart or some other organs.”
This is comparable to how calcium is stolen from pregnant mothers. If the expectant mom has too little calcium intake, the growing baby will take it how he/she can. Years later, women find themselves with osteoporosis or other calcium-deficient caused disorders.
Don’t Worry, Eat Protein
Yes, the long-term negative effects of being protein-deficient are worrisome. The calming news is that more than likely, your regular diet provides an ample amount. There is protein in mostly all animal-sourced and plant-based foods. Unless you’re eating only carbohydrates, chances are you’re getting enough protein from an array of foods you consume.
Common foods containing protein are: poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy products, beans and peas.
Another aspect to consider is exercise. Physical movement also slows down age-related cellular breakdown. So, if you’re eating a sufficient amount of protein and exercising, your cells will maintain their strength longer. Way to keep your youth!
If you’re interested in diet, food, and exercise, check out more brief, informative articles here.