By Katerina Koufou, physician specialist
Are your cell “batteries” depleted? The most common complaint I hear from my patients over the age of 40 is that they feel tired, with low energy levels.
Since 1980, the egg, the main ingredient of Greek breakfast, has been replaced with cereals. Despite their popularity, carbohydrates are not essential on a daily basis, which explains the rising obesity rate in recent years. On the other hand, protein is the only macronutrient that is needed daily.
In general, protein is necessary for every cell of the body. The body uses protein to rebuild and regenerate tissues, cartilage and bones, as well as muscles and skin. Hair and nails are also mainly made of protein. In addition, protein balances the appetite, so you get a prolonged feeling of satiety and less cravings (snacks, hypoglycemia, cravings mainly for unhealthy foods). Other benefits of protein intake include:
- Muscle mass building
- Metabolism increase
- Protection from age-related loss of muscle mass
- Glycemic index improvement
- Energy levels increase
- Immune system support
- Heart function support
- Strength increase
Unlike fats and carbohydrates, proteins are not stored by the body. Under normal circumstances, the body stores fat as a “reserve”, in order to avoid starvation and survive, which is its number one priority. But when the body has more protein than it needs, survival is not threatened, so it feels safe and uses this fat reserve as a “fuel”. This is the rule of thumb for burning fat and losing weight, without causing sarcopenia. As a result, muscles remain strong, body stays lean, but not weak, so that you can live with flexibility and mobility even when you get older.
The recommended daily intake of protein is approximately 0.8g x kg of body weight. So far people have been using whey protein of animal origin. Due to the frequent intolerance to dairy, however, other sources of protein are preferred nowadays. Almond protein for example, in addition to being safe, contains omega-3 fats, the so-called good fats, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular or other degenerative disease.
A top quality protein supplement must:
- Not contain chemical dyes, fragrances, artificial sweeteners, GMOs or antibiotics.
- Have high absorption and not cause stomach irritation. For this reason, protein can be combined with prebiotics (inulin) and fibers that facilitate digestion.
- Not cause food intolerances (lactose and gluten intolerance).
Protein, therefore, stimulates fat burning, promotes muscle growth, increases energy levels, improves memory, mood and mental clarity, builds strong bones, raises libido and activates metabolism. So, the age on your ID is just a number, the biological age and how you feel is the real thing!