When we talk about diet and its impact on your immune system and general wellness, we often focus on the nutrient profiles and benefits of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and similar nutrients. But there’s one nutrient that provides the building blocks — quite literally! — for your health: Protein. Today, let’s break down the surprising benefits of protein, and why you might not be getting enough protein.
Protein: One of Three Critical Macronutrients
- A large amount of carbohydrates for fuel and energy
- A moderate amount of protein for repair and maintenance (we’ll discuss more about the health benefits of protein below)
- A small amount of healthy fats for brain health, vitamin absorption and cell growth
Protein itself is made up of amino acids. “There are 20 amino acids,” says fitness expert Pete McCall. “Four are considered non-essential because the body can produce them, and nine are essential because they cannot be produced in the body and must be consumed in the diet.”
“The body is constantly building new cells to replace old ones, and amino acids consumed in the diet support this process,” he explains. The nine essential amino acids that make up the protein in your diet are:
But don’t worry, you won’t need to remember all these amino acids. But you will need to remember to get enough protein from a variety of sources in order to hit all of your amino acid goals.
Protein Dosage: Are You Getting Enough Protein?
How much protein you need depends on factors like your age, gender and physical activity.
For example, bodybuilders need more protein than your everyday weekend warrior, pregnant women have increased need and seniors may also benefit from extra protein for healthier aging.
In general, you want to do one of the following:
- Eat at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
- Aim to have your calories from protein make up 15% to 30% of your total calories for the day.
A Varied Diet is Key
It remains controversial whether certain levels of amino acids must be eaten in combination to enjoy the most benefit or whether ensuring you’re getting the full range on a daily basis is sufficient. Overall the advice is to eat a range of protein-containing foods, especially high-quality ones and also be sure to include plant-based proteins.
The healthiest sources of protein include:
- Lean meats, such as chicken breast
- Fatty fish, such as tuna and salmon
- Lean dairy products, such as Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
- Fermented organic soy products, such as tofu and tempeh
The Immune System and Wellness Benefits of Getting Enough Protein
1. Weight Loss
High-protein foods have a high satiety factor, which is the fancy way of saying that it helps keep you feeling full longer. By promoting satiety, you’ll help cue your body to listen to its own hunger signals, and you may experience less temptation to overeat, binge on junk food or cave into unnecessary snacking.
The result? Improved weight loss and healthier weight maintenance. Not only will you look and feel better, but maintaining a healthy weight is also associated with:
- Improved mental health and mood
- Reduced risk of disease
- Stronger immunity (obesity weakens your immune system) and better immune responses to bacteria and viruses
2. Better Physical Performance and Health
There’s a reason fitness enthusiasts love their protein shakes. Those essential amino acids in protein form the building blocks for your muscles and other tissues. Increased protein intake is linked with:
- Increased muscle performance
- Speedier recovery after exercise, illness and injury
- Faster improvements in muscle endurance and strength
Protein’s amino acids aren’t just good for athletes. Because those amino acids are the building blocks for all tissues, you may also experience benefits like improved skin health, stronger and more beautiful hair, and more!
3. The Amino Acids in Protein Support Your Immune System Health
A growing body of evidence pinpoints all the ways that your dietary amino acids support a healthy immune system.
“A deficiency of dietary protein or amino acids has long been known to impair immune function and increase the susceptibility of animals and humans to infectious disease,” explains a research analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition. “However, only in the past 15 years have the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms begun to unfold.”
Recent studies show the amino acids in protein help to:
- Activate the “killer cells” in your immune system
- Produce antibodies and other immune cells
- Reduce the risk of infectious disease
- Generate more white blood cells
Specifically for your immune system, there is another class of proteins that many people are deficient in: Thymic proteins.
Thymic proteins are produced by your thymus gland. They “train” your body’s immune system and help your immune system to better identify and eliminate diseased cells.
As you age, your body’s natural levels of thymic proteins start to drop. BioPro-Plus 500 can help. Through a gentle biological process, the thymic proteins in BioPro-Plus 500 (varying from 10,000 to 50,000 Daltons) are derived from Certified BSE free, bovine thymus cells, and then purified as intact bio-molecules which have maximum biological activity. Additionally, Zinc Gluconate has been clinically proven to shorten the duration of infection from the common cold virus. Combined with 10 PPM nanosilver solution, BioPro-Plus 500 is one of the best ways to boost your immune system.