*Note: this is not just for meat-eaters!

If your goal is to lose weight and get in shape, there's one vital nutrient you need to eat a lot more of. That's right, I'm talking about protein!

Protein plays a central role in muscle-building, as it provides the amino acids that your body needs to create new muscle fibers and the ATP energy that you burn when you lift weights. There are 9 essential amino acids that your body needs to create new muscle, and eating complete proteins is the key to increased muscle building.

What are complete proteins?

  • Beef and Pork
  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Fish
  • Quinoa
  • Dairy products
  • Soy
  • Chia, and many more…

You know that protein is needed for your muscles, but did you know that eating more protein can help you to lose weight as well?

To start off, protein satisfies your hunger more effectively than carbs and fats. When eating more protein, you eat less of the other food groups. More protein is also able to help you control your appetite better, meaning you're less likely to snack between meals.

A high protein diet can also increase your weight loss, as more protein available for muscle-building means that more muscle fibers are created after your workouts. The more lean muscle you build, the more calories you burn on a daily basis. An increase in muscle mass leads to gains in your metabolism, which in turn leads to effective, healthy weight loss!

Here's another little-known benefit of protein: it's heart-smart!

Boston University's School of Medicine published a study that discovered protein can reduce your risk of high blood pressure. Those who ate more than 100 grams of protein per day had a much lower chance of developing hypertension than those who ate less than 60 grams. Of course, the diet was only heart-friendly when you added A LOT of fiber into the mix, meaning you need to eat a lot of veggies with your high protein diet.

So what kind of protein should you be eating a lot of?

Eggs are one of the best proteins, as they are rich in nutrients while being fairly low in calories and saturated fats. Dairy products are high in fat, but the fat in cheese, yoghurt, and milk has been proven to be effective at promoting weight loss and fat burning.

Chicken and turkey are both leaner proteins, provided you remove the skin. Lean cuts of red meat are incredibly vital to a high-protein diet, although it's recommended to consume them in moderation. Fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins, making it one of the best proteins on the planet.

Legumes like lentils and beans are rich in fiber and low in fat. Eat more protein, and you'll find yourself shedding weight and building muscle much more quickly than you would on a high-carb diet!

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