The Importance of Protein In Overall Health

3 minute read

by Katie Duke, MSN, ACNP-BC

I’m excited to partner with Boost to bring you this blog post. As always, all opinions, both professional and personal, are my own.

As a Nurse Practitioner, I educate my patients every day about the importance of nutrition and adequate intake of protein, vitamins and nutrients. It’s very stressful as a patient to be in the hospital and in the midst of a health crisis, illness, or injury. This is a good opportunity to make positive changes to one's diet, and I use this crucial time to empower my patients by providing information and recommendations that will help them on their road to recovery or maintenance with informed, smarter, healthier choices.

I specialize in Cardiology, which is the medical practice pertaining to heart disease and heart health. There are many heart conditions that are heavily impacted by diet and nutrition: high cholesterol, heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), and coronary artery disease (clogged arteries of the heart). However, there are countless other areas of health and disease that are directly affected by what we eat and take in daily; diabetes, malnutrition and failure to thrive (typical in older populations and geriatric patients), wound healing and wound care (tissue regeneration and healing), surgery (recovery and healing time), weight management, musculoskeletal health, weight and muscle loss associated with aging, and more. As you can see, nutritional intake, especially protein, is an imperative piece to all people along many stages of the lifespan, but especially to older adults and those with chronic or acute medical issues.

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Throughout the last 3 years of practice as a Nurse Practitioner and my over cumulative of 15 years in healthcare as a Nurse, I’ve realized that when patients need recommendations, it is absolutely important that I make evidence based, research driven, and guideline informed recommendations for them. There are many varieties of nutritional product brands available, however, a brand that has a long history of consistency, efficacy, affordability, and quality is Boost. There is a lot of research and data that goes into the background work of how illness and disease progress, how our bodies recover, heal, and regenerate, and also what we need to maintain health and wellness above and beyond times of illness or injury.

There are several reasons why I recommend Nestle’s Boost Simple Complete and Nestle’s Boost High Protein nutritional drinks to my patients and older adults:

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  1. Contains High Protein:  

    • Protein is a vital nutrient which consists of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of the body, and are absolutely necessary to muscle, bone, skin, and the health or recovery/healing process of every body system. Your body uses it to build and repair tissue.

    • Protein is necessary for Oxygenation (we cannot survive without this process). What that means is that red blood cells contain a protein compound that carries oxygen throughout the body (hemoglobin), which helps supply your entire body with the nutrients and oxygen it needs.

    • Protein gives you energy, and plays a unique role in maintaining your immune system, by making enzymes and hormones (remember: building blocks), and transporting nutrients throughout your body.

    • Like carbohydrates and fat, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. (Vitamins and minerals, which you only need in small quantities, are called “micronutrients.”)

    • Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low. Protein bars and protein supplement shakes are a great way to supplement your diet to ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein.

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2. Easy and ready to go

  • A lot of my patients have a lot on their plate: traveling after retirement, family events and assisting with rearing grandchildren, caregiving to elder parents, volunteer work, errands, social agendas, work, etc. All of these factors can mean that preparing meals and snacks to have consistently can often get tricky and on the other hand, finding new things to try can also be cumbersome especially on a more fixed income.

  • The benefit of Nestle’s Boost Simple Complete and Nestle’s Boost High Protein is that it is portable, quick, easy, and convenient. There is no preparation, no portioning, and no thought process other than what flavor do you want.

  • This easy portability and convenience is well received by my patients because at the end of the day: we all want simple yet effective ways of life. We want to grab and go, and having a high quality and highly nutritional option such as Nestle’s Boost Simple Complete and Nestle’s Boost High Protein drink is one that consistently delivers.

3. A good alternative to other healthy protein sources

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  • Protein comes in many forms, and reinforcing again, our bodies DO NOT STORE it, which means that we must take it in every day with our diet and nutritional intake.

  • Some common sources of dietary healthy protein are: Meat, fish, eggs, lentils, beans, poultry, dairy products, and health bars

  • The common forms of protein listed above must be prepared (with the exception of health bars). This can often pose as a challenge to many of my patients and older adults because, well, not everyone has time or energy to prepare things on a consistent basis.

  • I advise to work in Nestle’s Boost Simple Complete or Nestle’s Boost High Protein as a solid and healthy alternative to other protein sources because it requires no preparation, and is easy to grab, drink, and is portable. It’s a no brainer, as an option such as this helps patients to be more consistently compliant.

In my practice as an NP, I know how important protein intake is to our overall health, and especially important to those who have active medical issues, illnesses, and our older populations. Nestle’s Boost Simple Complete is a quality product that I not only recommend as an NP, but I also drink it myself (it’s convenient, tastes great, and has great protein!) I encourage my patients to work in these nutritional drinks to their daily diets and routines, and additionally, I encourage them to calculate their daily protein requirement here on the Boost Protein Calculator Page. By knowing how much protein we should be taking in every day, it gives us a tangible goal to work toward.

And lastly, I like to encourage my patients who have smart phones to download a diet and lifestyle tracker app to help them keep track of activity, salt intake, water intake, daily weights, carbohydrate, caloric and protein intake. For those patients and adults who are not too into smartphones or apps, I encourage them to keep a food diary in their calendar or personal journal.

Thank you for reading along, and I hope that this advice I’ve guided my patients with over the years is helpful for you along your nutritional journey.