The Importance Of Protein For Glowing Skin, Hair & Nails

Author Image
Carla Oates The Beauty Chef Founder

By Carla Oates

The majority of us now know that healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids are essential for plump, glowing skin. We add vitamin E-rich avocado to our smoothies, munch on selenium-packed chia seeds and drizzle extra virgin olive oil on our salads. But while there’s no doubting the beauty-boosting benefits of healthy fats—there’s another macronutrient that’s equally important when it comes to our skin health: protein. In fact, the benefits of protein should not be underestimated—boasting advantages for our hair, complexion and even our gut health.

Given how essential it is, protein should therefore help to form the foundation of a healthy, well-balanced diet and at every opportunity, we should ensure we are consuming enough of it through either animal protein sources or vegan protein sources such as The Beauty Chef’s BODY Inner Beauty Support—depending on our dietary preferences.

Read on to discover why we’re singing the praises of this essential macronutrient and how to make sure you’re meeting your minimum daily protein requirements…

Protein For Hair Health

You’ve likely already seen keratin hair treatments advertised at your local hair salon—but did you know that you can also nourish your hair from the inside out by consuming foods rich in protein? This is because protein supplies the body with the essential amino acids required to make keratin—one of the building blocks of the human body and the form of protein that makes up our skin, hair and nails. More specifically, keratin helps to ensure our hair, skin and nails stay strong which is why we need to encourage its production at every opportunity.

We can do this in two ways—by consuming protein-rich foods that contain the amino acids (such as L-cysteine) which boost your body’s natural keratin production—as well as the specific vitamins and minerals which support this process. These include biotin (found in nuts, beans, cauliflower and mushrooms), vitamin A (found in pumpkin, sweet potatoes, legumes and raw carrots) as well as sulphurous foods (like meat, eggs, kale and Brussels sprouts). 

Protein For Skin Radiance

Considering protein is one of the key building blocks of skin tissue, it’s no surprise that an adequate intake of this macronutrient is essential for plump, healthy skin. But choosing which source of protein is best for you (and your skin!) really depends on your personal dietary preferences, tastes, ethics, allergies and/or intolerances. It’s also important to note that not all sources of protein are created equal and animal protein sources vary greatly in terms of nutrient-profile to vegan protein sources. 

Put simply, animal protein sources—like chicken, beef, fish, lamb, eggs and dairy products—are known as “complete proteins” as they contain all nine of the essential amino acids which the body is unable to produce by itself. This includes L-lysine which supports the body’s synthesis of collagen—improving overall skin elasticity, hydration and skin strength.

Plant proteins, by contrast, are considered “incomplete proteins” because they don’t contain a complete amino acid profile. But to build a more complete protein picture, vegans and vegetarians can strategically combine different sources of plant protein to ensure that their body’s receive all the beauty-boosting nutrients it needs. The Beauty Chef’s BODY Inner Beauty Support protein and wellness powder is a good example of this—and is perfect for vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike as it contains both pea and brown rice protein to form a complete amino acid profile. Not only that, but it also includes skin-loving antioxidants like vitamin C from acerola cherry, vitamin D from shiitake mushroom, cleansing grasses, berries, algae, cruciferous vegetables, seeds, spices, fruits and free radical-fighting leafy greens. In a nutshell, it’s a skin-boosting powerhouse and adding a scoop to your morning smoothie is just one simple way to boost your protein intake!

Everything You Need To Know About Protein For Gut Health

When it comes to the relationship between protein and gut health, there are several things to consider. Firstly, when compared with high-carbohydrate breakfasts, studies show that protein-rich breakfasts (containing upwards of 35g of protein) are more effective at suppressing ghrelin, your hunger hormone. Consuming protein-rich foods that are satiating enough to carry you through to your next meal is therefore helpful in order to maintain a healthy gut because the time between meals sans food actually gives your Migrating Motor Complex (MMC) time to work its magic. MMC is like a cleansing wave that “sweeps” food particles out of the intestines, helping to keep your gut in balance and allowing your digestive system to take a well-earned break.

Secondly, studies also show that consuming around 25–30g protein at every meal benefits appetite, weight loss and metabolism. While this is easy to achieve at lunch and dinner, breakfast is often when most of us fall short. Unsurprisingly, sugary cereals and toast just don’t cut it! We recommend ditching your usual box of cornflakes or fruit toast for a nutrient-dense smoothie that boasts a balance of macronutrients. Simply combine a wholefood protein powder like BODY with fruit, vegetables, nuts or nut butter and your choice of milk and natural yoghurt. BODY Inner Beauty Powder is the perfect smoothie addition, as it contains the added health benefits of both prebiotics and probiotics to help rebalance your microbiome, as well as an arsenal of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins—such as vitamin C and vitamin D which also support your gut and immune system—as well as minerals to boost your metabolic rate and keep you feeling full for longer.

But the most important thing to remember when it comes to protein (as well as fat!) is to maintain an attitude of balance. Both are essential for our overall health, hormones, neurotransmitters and gut health—so there’s no reason to cut out meat if you’re looking to improve your gut health. It simply needs to be enjoyed in moderation and in combination with fibre-rich plant foods which feed the good bacteria in your gut and improve your immune and metabolic health. For some, digesting protein can also be difficult which is why a protein and wellness powder such as BODY can be such a great addition to your daily routine. As it’s fermented and sprouted, it is therefore more easily digested by the body and the nutrients are more bioavailable.

Explore our blog, The Digest, to try some of our delicious recipes which include our vegan protein powder, BODY Inner Beauty Support.