(BPT) - Move over, Hollywood's biggest and brightest … there's a new star in town. Sure, protein is far from new, and the research continues to support an abundance of health benefits supplied by a high-protein diet. But if you thought protein was strictly for fueling up athletes and gym bros, it's time to put the rumors to rest.
Here's the science of it all: Protein consists of amino acids and serves as a building block that is an essential part of virtually every part of your body from muscle growth and bone health to glowing skin and hair. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, at least 10,000 different proteins are responsible for the body's everyday functions and ensuring you have enough of it is key.
Say goodbye to the crash
3 p.m. slump? Not around here. While carbs in foods like bread and pasta can cause blood sugar spikes and subsequent falls, protein has staying power that keeps you feeling full and satisfied for longer. Protein helps balance blood glucose levels to combat mid-day crashes that lead to irritability, brain fog and hunger pangs. Translation: help your body work smarter, not harder.
Support a superhero immune system
Protein is a vital nutrient that supports a strong immune system, fighting off germs and killing harmful cells before they get the chance to cause infection in your body. According to WebMD, amino acids in protein compounds help important cells in your immune system like T cells, B cells and antibodies to keep you feeling healthy and balanced.
Not all heroes wear capes
At mealtime, protein swoops in like a capeless crusader to balance your blood glucose levels and save you from those pesky hunger pangs. One of the most convenient ways to boost protein at mealtime is to stock up on low-prep, high-protein meals. Kevin's Natural Foods fully cooked protein-rich meals come in a variety of delicious flavors, great for a quick lunch or dinner that can be ready in minutes. Each meal is gluten-free, soy-free, paleo and keto certified, and features only clean ingredients.
Eat your way to a better sleep
There's no need to count sheep when you're on your way to protein-packed dreamland.
A balanced diet that includes protein may help you sleep better. 'Protein may consist of the amino acid tryptophan, which is a precursor of cerebral serotonin, which acts as a sleeping pill,' according to the study 'Sleep Quality: A Narrative Review on Nutrition, Stimulants, and Physical Activity as Important Factors.'
Hitting your protein goals doesn't always have to be a struggle. Here are four ways to make it easy:
- Supercharge breakfast: Swap out your usual carb-heavy breakfast of toast or cereal for high-protein options such as Greek yogurt, eggs or a protein smoothie.
- Get creative with flavors: Chicken, rice and bland veggies, again? Yawn. Keep taste buds curious by trying flavorful protein options. Kevin's Thai Style Coconut Chicken is a favorite: tender chicken breast strips in a rich and creamy blend of coconut milk, basil and Thai spices. Bye bye, boring meal prep. With many flavor options from Roasted Garlic Chicken and Korean BBQ Beef, these five-minute meals offer bold flavors and won't put your taste buds to sleep.
- Sensational snack options: Instead of reaching for a quick fix of chips or cookies, opt for a protein-rich snack such as CHOMPS beef jerky sticks, hard-boiled eggs, nuts or seeds.
- Satisfying sides: Instead of starchy sides like pasta or potatoes, choose protein-rich options such as beans, peas, lentils or Banza rice made from chickpeas.
Protein earns a standing ovation for its versatility, deliciousness and a whole bunch of health benefits. By incorporating these simple ideas, you can easily increase your protein intake to seize the day and conquer your to-do list like a certified superhero.