Protein is one of the most important nutrients for the proper functioning of the body. The protein finds its basic function in maintaining and replacing the tissues present in our body. The muscles and numerous hormones are built with protein.
It also has a significant role to play in the scenario of blood clotting and hemoglobin manufacture. Hemoglobin are blood cells which act as oxygen carriers in our body. Almost every fluid and living cell contains protein. These facts points towards the relevance of protein in the diet we take.
Food Sources Of Protein
The sources of protein are classified into two main categories. They are complete protein and incomplete protein.
The protein which contains all the nine necessary amino acids is called complete protein. This type of protein is found mainly in animal foods. They include egg, fish, poultry, meat, milk products and obviously milk. The only plant protein which can be grouped into the category of a complete protein is soybean.
Incomplete proteins are those in which at least one out of the nine essential amino acids is absent. Some of the foods which come under this category include peas, seeds, nuts, beans and grains. Some combinations of certain incomplete plant proteins can lead to the formation of complete protein. One such example is beans with rice.
Functions of Protein In Human Body
Proteins are virtually involved in all the cell functions. Every protein within human body has definite function. Structural support, bodily movement and defense against germs are just a few to mention. They form antibodies which protect the body against malicious antigens. Contractile proteins help in the movement of body.
Enzymes are also proteins which facilitates biochemical reactions by catalyzing the reactions. There are hormonal proteins which help in coordinating bodily functions. The examples of hormonal protein are oxytocin and insulin.
Structural proteins fill hair and maintain tendon and ligaments. The storage of amino acids is done by casein and ovalbumin and they fall under the category of storage proteins. Transport proteins facilitate movement of molecules in body.
Importance Of Protein
No other nutrient than protein plays so many roles in keeping us alive as well as healthy. The significance of protein in the growth and in repair of our bones, skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, eyes, hair, and all other tissues had been proved since a long time.
The deficiency leads to lack of hormones and enzymes we need for digestion, metabolism and many other vital processes. In case of infection, it is advisable to have more protein as it helps in creating antibodies for our immune system.
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As protein helps in blood clotting and repairing the role of protein when we get injured is more important. Protein can provide energy but along with protein if we take carbohydrates, the protein will be conserved for other unique functions for which the body have no other alternatives.
Our body needs protein for different purposes. There are nearly 20 types of amino acids. Nine of them are essential as they must be received from food. The nonessential category compromises the other type of amino acids which are naturally produced by our and need not be taken through diets.
Meat, turkey, chicken, dairy products and fish are the richest source of proteins. Protein makes digestion easier. Our body finds it easier to digest animal proteins than plant proteins.
But the concern should also lie on avoiding food such as lean meat which contains excess fat. The very next easiest protein source to digest is legumes. They are followed grains to various plant sources.
Protein deficiencies occur mainly in undeveloped poor countries. But modern nations not always stand as an exception. There also we can find certain groups of people getting affected by the deficiency.
Since vegetable proteins take longer to digest, the vegetarians should take care of having enough protein to them from food. Meanwhile the chances are always greater for the intake of excess protein, mainly from all meat sources.
A typical diet in the west includes nearly 100 grams protein, while only around 50 grams of protein is needed by our body. A healthy body without any kidney or liver problems can easily deal with the little trouble created by that extra protein.
Meat proteins are usually expensive and contain excess fat making it advisable not to have extra protein more than the body actually needs. Certain sources report a high protein food to be effective for those looking for a quick weight loss. But still there are opinions opposite to this. The initial drop of body weight is seen to be common on taking a high-protein diet.
This is actually because of the water loss from body. They can’t be reliable always in a long process. More over excess of protein rich food can be dangerous, increasing the risk for heart disease, artery damage, kidney disease and even bone loss.
The need for protein depends on our age, activity level and genuinely age. One of the standard methods adopted by nutritionists for estimating our protein requirement per day is by multiplying the weight of body (in kilograms) by .8, or else the body weight (in pounds) by .37.
This is actually the amount of protein needed by an average body. This is represented in number of grams. As per this method, a person should intake protein content of 55 grams if he weighs 150 lbs. Else in case of a person with a weight of 200 pound the quantity of protein he needs is 74 grams and a 250 pound of person will need 92 grams of protein.
Even if almost every high-protein food consists of enormous amount of iron and vitamin B12, they don’t include minerals and the other necessary vitamins. So even though lot of proteins, aptly to say adequate protein is necessary and very much of important to our body protein can never alone be a balanced complete food.
The registered dietitian or a physician will be the most reliable option for the elimination of our concern about the quantity of protein actually needed. The reason for this is that, every individual has unique body features but even then health is a concern for all.