The term Protein comes from the Greek word “protos”, which means “to come first”.
Thousands of substances in the body are made of proteins. Aside from water, protein form the major part of lean body tissue, totaling about 17% of body weight.
Proteins are crucial because they regulate and maintain the body functions such as blood clotting, fluid balance, hormone and enzyme production, visual processes, and cell repair.
Every day we need nearly 1g of protein per Kg body weight and protein quality plays an important role. The most widely used measure of protein quality is its “PROTEIN DIGESTIBILITY CORRECTED AMINO ACID SCORE” which should be 1.
If one fails to consume an adequate amount of protein for weeks, many metabolic processes slow down, the immune system no longer functions efficiently thereby increasing the risk of infections, disease, and eventually death.
Below are a few functions of Protein:
- Provides Energy
Protein is not the first or second choice to generate energy. These are Carbohydrates and fats. When our body has low carbs and fats, thanks to the protein that keep you going.
- Muscle Building
Protein helps to keep the size and shape of the muscles. It also helps to lose body weight without losing muscle at the same time, if you lift weights for muscle strength, protein plays an important role in muscle building.
- Strengthens Bones
Getting the right amount of protein helps to improve bone health. It lower’s the chance of bone loss and improves bone density and also helps prevent fractures during old age.
- Supports the immune system
Protein composes key parts of the cells (T-cells, B-cells, and Antibodies ) used by the immune system. Compounds present in protein (amino acids) turn these soldier’s into germ fighter’s that detects and kill harmful bodies that enter into the body, before causing infection
- Helps in preventing food craving
Craving is not the true need for food as craving signals come from the brain not from the stomach. Research shows that more protein intake can curb these cravings and even late-night search for food.
- Burns Fat
Consuming an adequate amount of protein in your diet helps in boosting body metabolic processes (the rate at which the body uses energy). That means you burn more calories even at rest than consuming a lower protein diet.
- Supports healthy Heart
Studies show Plant proteins (beans, peas, dal, etc.) can help lower blood pressure. It also helps to decrease the bad cholesterol, which lower’s the risk of heart disease.
- Supports faster wound healing
Protein is also called as a building block of your body. Protein helps faster wound repair by reducing inflammation and creating new tissue at the site of injury.
- Carrier of nutrients in your body
If you assume blood steam is a canal, proteins are cargo ships that carry vitamins, minerals, sugars, oxygen, etc. through it and into cells that need them. Some proteins even store certain nutrients like iron.
Best ways of getting protein
Protein comes from animal and plant sources, choose healthy and low-fat sources, and try to minimize saturated fats and highly processed foods. Break your food intake into small portions and try to include more fruit and veggies to get vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Eating a very high-protein diet can harm you
Eating a high protein diet is beneficial but the researcher’s expressed the concern that intake of too much can unduly burden the kidneys and increases the risk of cancer, high cholesterol, kidney stones, weight gain, and constipation. Many of these potential effects depend on the type of protein and your overall diet. Ask your doctor, dietician, or Nutritionist for the right diet advice.