Written By: Nelson Narciso, DNM®
The arrival of spring after the long winter months brings a renewed sense of vitality. As a result, many of us feel we can stop using key nutritional products and supplements that can benefit us year round. But there is one product you should never neglect to take: whey protein.
Protein is Life
The word protein is from the Greek proteios or "holding first place." Protein is an essential building block of life''it's a part of every cell in your body. When you eat protein, your digestive system breaks it down into single amino acids that are then rearranged into new structures to perform whatever function your body needs. These functions include the growth and repair of muscle, bone, skin and hair, the manufacturing of enzymes and hormones to keep your body functioning properly and the creation of antibodies to keep your immune system strong.
Whey is the most rapidly absorbed protein, with the highest biological value, meaning your body can use it efficiently. Whey is also known as a ''complete protein'', because it provides all of the essential amino acids that your body is unable to manufacture on its own.
Whey Protein and Weight Loss
Whey protein can raise your metabolism. It also balances blood sugar and possesses mild appetite suppressant properties. This means it not only improves your ability to burn calories, but it also helps prevent overeating. Whey also supports the growth of lean muscle, which is considered ''active tissue''. Unlike fat, muscle requires energy in order to stay alive. The more you have, the higher and more efficient your metabolism becomes. Whey not only improves muscle repair and growth, but it helps prevent the muscle loss that often occurs during weight loss without contributing to weight gain.
Whey Protein and Muscle Growth
Every time you exercise (especially weight-bearing), your muscles experience micro-tearing because of the stress. These tears require protein to be repaired and grow stronger.
Whey Protein and Immune Function
Numerous studies have shown that whey proteins help enhance the body's immune system by raising glutathione levels. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant with the ability to help the body reduce the risk of infections by improving the responsiveness of the immune system without over stimulating it. Whey protein also offers anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal protection.
Whey Protein and Osteoporosis
Whey protein is a good source of calcium and is considered alkalizing to the body. This means that good nutrition that includes whey protein may help maintain strong bones as we age, especially when combined with an exercise and resistance training program. A recent study conducted at Boston University showed that elderly individuals who consumed low levels of protein had a significant loss of bone density four years after the start of the study, especially in the hip and spine areas. A nutritious diet rich in vegetables, fruits, calcium rich foods, EFA's, vitamin D and whey protein will help keep bones healthy and strong.
Have a fruit filled smoothie for breakfast or a chocolate shake after your workout and start feeling the difference that whey protein can make in your life!