I must admit for many years I thought our skin was the largest organ but in fact, this is incorrect. Skeletal Muscle is the largest organ of the body and provides us with shape, support, stability and a slew of important movements we utilize every day. Because our muscles play such a vital role, it’s important we nourish them.
Protein is a powerful dietary component for muscle to be healthy, and it is recommended to intake a minimum of 250 mg per day or more, depending on your individual weight. As humans, we have an essential need for dietary protein. It is a very important macronutrient which means it assists almost every function in the body. When our muscle mass decreases due to lack of protein, there can be risks that affect our health and well-being.
Muscle health is presented in two major ways – physicality and functionality. The physical perspective is a health biomarker for strength, and their function allows us to do daily fundamental things. When one experiences a decline in health and stressors in health arise, the body depends on muscle to overcome and fight. To overcome the heavy metabolic load of disease, the body relies on muscle. Muscle is also a metabolic regulator – did you know diabetes and obesity begin in skeletal muscle first?
Our bodies go through constant protein turnover when old cells die and new cells are made – approximately 250 grams per day in adults. Our longevity, health, and aging are all connected to protein! Because of this, it is also not a surprise that protein plays a critical role in skin health. Psoriasis, eczema, compromised skin barrier and other inflammatory skin problems can benefit from adequate protein intake. Someone who has a compromised skin situation requires higher protein needs. Burn victims' critical need is dietary protein in healing. In terms of skin turnover, protein is a beneficial dietary component.
So is all protein equal? The quality of protein is purely in numbers. 20 amino acids make up humans and 9 are essential. Animal based proteins are bio available, therefore, plant and animal protein are not equal; but yes, you can get what you need from plants with careful planning and understanding on how to combine plant protein foods. You will need zinc, and selenium to help with healing and to ensure proper dietary needs to improve skin health.
Totality of evidence in human based trials shows that we need adequate protein to ensure longevity and good health. So for those who want to age gracefully, protein is one of your best allies.