Mention protein and you think of energy. There is no shortage of discussion among athletes and sports stars about the importance of maintaining protein levels to optimise performance. Yet the role of protein in the human body is a fundamental one that goes beyond performance on the football field or shaving another one hundredth of a second off that 100-metre time.
Macro and micro nutrients
The human body needs a variety of nutrients in order to stay healthy, These are divided into macronutrients, of which we need relatively large amounts, and micronutrients. The micronutrients are vitamins and minerals, while the macronutrients are carbohydrates, fat and protein.
When it comes to carbohydrates and fat, the body has clever ways of taking reserve supplies on board and holding them in storage. With protein, it is different, however – the body can only take it through what it eats, and when it is gone, it is gone.
The importance of maintaining protein levels
Protein is a component of each and every cell in the body. It is a building block of blood, skin, bone and muscle and the body uses it to carry out basic functions and to create body chemicals, enzymes and hormones.
There are a number of symptoms that might manifest if you are not getting enough protein. The following list contains five of the more common, but is by no means exhaustive.
- Fatigue – that mid-afternoon energy slump is a common sign that protein levels are getting low. A top up with a nutritious snack or shake that is protein rich can be just the pick-me-up you need.
- Brain fog – struggling to concentrate and maintain focus? It’s most likely due to low blood sugar brought about by a lack of protein.
- Hunger and food cravings – if you are feeling hungry all the time or really craving snacks, your body is trying to tell you something. Chances are, you need more protein and fewer carbs in your day to day diet.
- Reduced muscle tone – the phrase “you are what you eat” is absolutely true when it comes to protein. If you don’t get enough from food sources, the muscles are forced to break down to provide the amino acids that give us energy.
- Poor skin, nails and hair – hair and nails, in particular, are made up almost entirely of protein. If they are in poor condition, it is one of the first indicators that you are not getting enough in your diet.
Staying energised throughout the day.
We all have busy lives to lead, and even if you’re running an office desk as opposed to a marathon, you still need to keep protein levels up in order to feel on top and function at your best. Snacking on high protein foods throughout the day is important, but it is essential to choose the right sort of snack that has both health benefits and tastes good.It is important for each of us as individuals to look after our health, but also for brands to promote healthy eating and good habits among their customers. At Focused Nutrition, our range of healthy, natural and most of all, tasty protein-rich snacks have it covered.