Protein is important for beautiful skin, hair and nails
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see soft, supple, radiant, glowing, blemish-free skin? Or do you see age spots and new wrinkles? The skin is the first “aging” sign we tend to see in ourselves. We all want to find ways to keep our skin beautiful, soft, and, we hope, wrinkle free. We will each get some wrinkles, but nobody wants them prematurely! Women are usually looking for the “magic formula”, “that miracle cream”. Many times the answer is closer than they think, for natural beauty you should check your diet first. This extract from the article, by Judy Lindberg McFarland gives you some important advice for skin health.
Collagen – the skin’s “cement”
Elastic skin is a sign that a person has ample collagen, the strong cement-like material that binds together the cells of your body. Collagen is a structural tissue and it is replaced very slowly. It is made of fibrous protein. In fact, collagen comprises 30 percent of the total body protein. Its strong white fibers, stronger than steel wire of the same size, and yellow elastic networks, called elastin, form the connective tissue that holds our body together. Collagen strengthens the skin, blood vessels, bones, and teeth. It is the intracellular cement that holds together the cells in various organs and tissues. Collagen is one of the most valuable proteins in the human body. A person who has been sick, or who has been on an extremely low-protein diet, very often sees the muscles in his or her arms and legs begin to sag, which is a sign that they have probably lost collagen.
“Next to water, protein is the most plentiful substance in your body.”
Start with protein
The building blocks of protein are amino acids. When protein is eaten, your digestive processes break it down into amino acids, which pass into the blood and are carried throughout the body. Your cells can then select the amino acids they need for the construction of new body tissue, antibodies, hormones, enzymes, and blood cells.
There are 22 different amino acids, each of which has its own characteristics. Protein is not one substance, but literally tens of thousands of different substances. The essential amino acids must be consumed in the diet because the body does not make them.The complete proteins that contain the eight essential amino acids come from meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk — all dairy, cheese and soy. They are basically anything that comes from the animal. Nuts and legumes (peas and beans) contain some but not all of the essential amino acids; these are known as incomplete proteins. In various combinations, all of these amino acids are capable of forming an almost limitless variety of proteins, each serving its own purpose.
Importance of Protein
Proteins are necessary for tissue repair and for the construction of new tissue. Every cell needs protein to maintain its life. Protein is also the primary substance used to “replace” worn-out or dead cells:
- Most white blood cells are replaced every ten days.
- The cells in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and blood platelets are replaced every four days.
- Skin cells are replaced every 24 days.
- More than 98 percent of the molecules in the body are completely replaced each year!
Your muscles, hair, nails, skin and eyes are made of protein. So are the cells that make up the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, nerves, brain and your sex glands. The body’s most active protein users are the hormones secreted from the various glands — thyroxin from the thyroid, insulin from the pancreas, and a variety of hormones from the pituitary — as well as the soft tissues, hard-working major organs and muscles. They all require the richest stores of protein.
The value of protein in our diet
Proteins are necessary for tissue repair and for the construction of new tissue. Every cell needs protein to maintain its life. Protein is also the primary substance used to “replace” worn out or dead cells. Your muscles, hair, nails, skin, and eyes are made of protein. Those with thinning hair and too many wrinkles for your age, may lack protein. The basis for neurotransmitters in your brain, and the substances that form the body’s immune response against infection, is made from protein. The most active protein users of the body are all of the hormones.Next to water, protein is the most plentiful substance in your body. In fact, if all the water was squeezed out of you, half of your dry weight would be protein. One third of this protein would be in your muscles, a fifth in your bones and cartilage, a tenth in your skin, and the rest in your other tissues and body fluids. Even 95 percent of your hemoglobin is protein.Protein is the best nutrient to eat in order to maintain an even blood sugar level, because it is metabolized over a long period of time. Protein can be converted to glucose if need be. Now you have a better understanding why I keep emphasizing the value of protein. A quick and easy way to get more protein into your diet is to use a protein powder supplement.
Recognizing protein deficiencies
Puffy bags under the eyes, especially in the morning, may indicate a lack of protein.
- Water retention. General puffiness around the eyes, as well as swollen ankles, face, and hands, can result from a protein deficiency.
- Nails are made of protein, not calcium as some think. A protein deficiency can be marked by split, extremely thin nails. Nails that fail to grow quickly lack protein.
- The structure of the hair follicle is protein. There are eight amino acids that the body does not produce and which therefore must come from complete protein foods such as eggs, dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.), soy, meat, fish, and fowl. Quality protein powders can fill this nutritional requirement for complete protein foods. It’s a great reason to use protein powders. Eat small meals often with protein at each meal.
- L-cysteine and L-methionine are the sulfur amino acids that form “keratin,” which is the protein structure of hair. Studies have shown that supplementing with L-cysteine may prevent hair from falling out, as well as increase the diameter of the hair shaft. These amino acids have been found to increase hair growth by as much as 100 percent. These two amino acids are sold in your nutrition store, but egg yolk contains the highest amount of these two amino acids. Another easy way to add sulfur to your diet is to take MSM.
Want to know how much protein you need daily? Read the whole article by Nutrition Express.
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