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Health Benefits of Protein

The Surprising Reasons You Should Eat More Protein

Whether you're an omnivore or herbivore, you need protein in your diet. Here's why you should take a look at the amount of protein on your plate.

Muscle building: Of course, the most well-known reason for eating protein involves building a strong, lean body. Protein is the key to repairing and renewing muscles, making them stronger in the long run. That's why it's so important to eat a protein- and carb-filled snack after exercise (like these low-calorie post-workout snack ideas).

Weight loss: More muscles, more metabolism; not only will eating more protein help you stay fuller, longer, but upping your protein intake has been shown to help your body burn more fat, not muscle. Just keep in mind, however, that a diet too high in protein, especially if it is made of animal meat that is high in saturated fats, can increase health risks.

Lower stroke risk: While a diet high in red meat can increase the risk of heart disease, a diet high in other types of lean protein (like fish) can actually lower your risk of stroke. A recent meta-analysis found that the risk of stroke was lower by 26 percent for every 20-gram increase in protein intake.

Bone health: Protein isn't just for healthy muscles; those essential amino acids may help your bones stay strong later in life as well. A recent study in elderly Japanese women found that those who ate more protein were less frail than those who ate the least amounts of protein. This particular study showed no difference whether the protein was plant- or animal-based, so take to heart that these vegan protein sources are just as beneficial to your body as lean meats.

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