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8 Wonderful Benefits Of Protein Shakes

8 Wonderful Benefits Of Protein Shakes

Protein shakes get a bad rap too often. They’re usually associated with those chalky, clumped up, and horrible tasting monstrosities from over a decade ago. The truth is, protein powder today mixes easily, comes in a number of delicious flavors, and with all of the recipes out there it’s easy to find some protein shakes you’ll love. This is great news if you haven’t been taking advantage of the benefits that protein shakes can provide.

1. You Can Hit Your Protein Goal for the Day

Protein is essential for life. Every structure in your body is built, at least in part, from proteins. Literally,your entire body is protein (and fats).The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 gm/kg body weight. That means, for most people, getting a single protein shake a day of 30-50 grams will make it very easy for most people to achieve or even surpass their RDA. This is especially true for some vegetarians who may not be consuming very many high protein foods and have trouble consistently getting enough protein.

2. You Can Boost Your Immune System

Whey protein, the protein most commonly used in protein shakes has a been found time and again to boost the immune system. As a review of the research found,

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“Whey and its components are involved in different bio-logical functions including antioxidant activity, anticarcino-genic effects, immunomodulation, passive immunity, disease protection, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-viral effects, binding of toxins, promotion of cell growth, platelet binding, anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive actions.”- A. Suha Yalcin

In short, drink a whey protein shake regularly and your chances of getting that cold that’s been going around the office, decreases.

3. You’ll Get the Most from Your Weight Training

If you’re lifting weights, and you should be, you’re working hard to build muscle and a whey protein shake can help maximize your effort. Intense training leads to muscle damage and a big part of optimizing your results from weight training is providing the body with the building blocks it needs to rebuild and grow new muscle. That primary building block of muscle? Protein.

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For those who are weight training optimal protein intake is around 1 gram per pound of body weight. That means a 175 pound man who lifts weights regularly (3-5) times a week should be consuming around 175 grams of protein a day to help support muscle recovery and growth. This sounds like an impossible task to many people until they realize that simply consuming 1-2 protein shakes per day can make getting one gram of protein per pound of body weight very, very, easy.

While some will claim this amount of protein is dangerous, don’t worry, in healthy people those claims are completely unfounded,

“It is the position of the International Society of Sports Nutrition that exercising individuals need approximately 1.4 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day….Concerns that protein intake within this range is unhealthy are unfounded in healthy, exercising individuals.” –ISSN

4. You’ll Lose Fat

Protein is known to have a satiating effect on the diet, helping you to feel fuller longer than carbs or fats. Protein also has a larger thermic effect, requiring the body to expend more energy to digest it than carbs or fats. Both of these mechanisms are why increasing protein has been associated with weight loss, and more specifically fat loss. Even though whey protein has been shown to help people lose weight, it digests quickly, so using a slow digesting protein like casein in your shake may be even more beneficial, blunting the appetite and staving off hunger for even longer.

5. You’ll Build MORE Muscle While you Sleep

You don’t build muscle while you’re working out. You damage muscles while you workout. The repair and growth happens during rest, primarily during deep sleep. Researchers have found that simply chugging a protein shake before bed can help increase you’re rate of muscle protein synthesis (rebuild and growth) and recovery versus not having that shake.

6. You’ll Lower Your Cholesterol

Whey protein has been shown to be very effective at helping to lower both total and LDL cholesterol. While it probably isn’t going to replace your blood pressure medications, supplementing with a whey protein shake may help if your doctor has advised “lifestyle therapy” as treatment,

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“whey peptides appear to be a well tolerated and safe lifestyle option for improving BP in a population of prehypertensive or stage 1 hypertensive men and women.”- Pins and Keenan

7. You’re Blood Pressure and Heart Disease Risk is Lower

In this study whey protein supplementation lead to a more than 6 point reduction in those who had elevated blood pressure. While another study found the same blood pressure lowering effects of whey protein to be true in obese people with above normal blood pressure. Whey protein shakes won’t completely reverse high blood pressure but it does appear that, if used consistently, whey protein shakes can be an effective part of a blood pressure reduction plan.

8. They’re Easy “Grab and Go” Nutrition

In our busy lives sometimes we feel the time crunch and reach for  something that’s “easy” and end up with a handful of cookies, chips and other empty calorie foods. Doing this just leaves us tired, irritable, in a mental haze. Worst of all, you’re probably only satisfied for a moment and hungry 15 minutes later.

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Mixing up a quick protein shake on the spot or even having a pre-made shake in the fridge can help keep this from happening. There are lots of really easy and delicious recipes out there that don’t take very long to toss together and will store nicely in the refrigerator for days. Just make sure you shake it up really well if it’s been sitting for more than a few minutes. Protein shakes can provide a nice, fast and easy supplement to fill the gaps in your nutrition, help improve your health and simplify your busy life.

Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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