Did you know that, next to water, protein makes up most of the weight of our bodies? It’s true—and easy to see why—because muscles, ligaments, organs, nails and hair are all made up of proteins. In short, complete protein is essential for the body. The truth is that everyone needs it. It’s one of the macronutrients our bodies simply can’t do without. Of course, we think the cleaner the protein, the better—which is why we whole-heartedly believe in Certified USDA Organic.
Additionally, protein supplies energy and structural components necessary for growth—including the building of muscles, new cells and tissues. Protein also increases stamina, supports a healthy weight and immune system and fuels most of the biochemical activities of the body.† Likewise, enzymes, antibodies and hormones are made primarily of protein.
The bottom line is that we must have it because proteins catalyze most of the reactions of living cells and control virtually all cellular processes. Not all proteins are created equally, though, so make sure you choose the cleanest, healthiest, most nutritious protein possible.
Here's another thing about protein. It has to do with how the brain functions, and the process can be a complex one, since the brain is rather complicated. Here's the takeaway, though: while the brain and its neurons are mostly made up of fats, the brain’s neurons communicate with each other based on the proteins we eat. In fact, brain cells communicate with each other via chemical messengers called neurotransmitters, which are typically made of amino acids and are the building blocks of protein.
Hence, what you eat affects which nerve chemicals cross the blood-brain barrier along pathways to influence your brain, which, in turn, directly affects how you feel. For example, eating carbs can make you feel sluggish or tired because they increase the brain’s level of the amino acid tryptophan, leading to the making of the calming, almost sedating neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin also plays a role in normal sleep patterns, blood pressure, appetite, learning and other functions.
On the other hand, eating protein raises the levels of an amino acid named tyrosine, which spurs the brain to create norephinephrine and dopamine, which are other kinds of chemical messengers in the brain. They serve to keep you energized, since they promote activity and being more alert.
The truth is that a healthy brain produces hundreds of neurotransmitters required for regular brain maintenance and must have protein to do so. That’s not to say that the brain doesn’t require healthy carbs, though. It does. However, most neurotransmitters are made from amino acids from the protein in food that you eat. The result of what you eat and how it directly affects your brain will lead to either motivate, energize, focus, sedate or frustrate you—molding your moods and influencing how your mind works.
That's yet another reason to choose your foods (including proteins) wisely.