What Is Protein & Why Do We Need It ?

Proteins are macro nutrients and are vital to any living organism. Proteins are the important constituent of tissue and cells of the body. They build the important component of muscle and other tissues and vital body fluids like blood. Protein supply the body building material and make good the loss that occur due to wear and tear of muscle fiber. Proteins, as antibodies, help the body to fight against infection. The proteins carry out many metabolic process in the body in form of enzymes and hormones. Thus, proteins have wide range of functions essential for living organism.

Proteins required by the body should be supplied in adequate amount in the diet. The dietary proteins are broken down into amino acids and absorbed as such, these amino acids derived from the dietary proteins are used by the body for various functions like tissue building. The amino acids which are not used for protein synthesis are broken down to provide energy, 1 gram of protein giving rise to 4.2 kcal.

If the diet does not contain adequate carbohydrate and fat to provide energy, dietary protein may be broken down to provide energy which is a wasteful way of using protein.

All foods except refined sugar, oil and fats contain protein to varying degree. some foods contain a high amount of protein and can classified as protein rich food. examples of such food are animals food like meat, fish, egg and plant foods like pulses, oil seeds and nuts

Protein And Amino Acids

Amino Acids are the building block of proteins. there are 19 of them in proteins, 9 of them are designed as “essential amino acids”, since they cannot be synthesised in the body the rest of the amino acids are called “non essential amino acids” as they can be formed in the body by inter conversion of other essential amino acids .

These amino acids are Alanine, Valine, Arginine, Tyrosine, Asparagine, Tryptophan, Cysteine, Threonine, Aspartic acid, Serine, Glutamic acid, Proline, Glutamin, Phenylalanine, Glycine, Methionine, Histidine, Lysine, Isolucine, Lucine.

Requirement

The requirement of proteins depend upon the its quality. The higher the quality, lower the requirement and vice versa.

The requirements are generally determined in terms of egg . The adult requirement of egg protein is 0.7 gram per kg of body weight while requirement in terms of mixed vegetables is 1.0 gram per kg of body weight.

it is to be expected that children require more protein per kg body weight than adults do. Thus, a young child of 1-2 years require 1.2 gram egg protein /kg or 2.0 gram of mixed vegetables protein per kg . Likewise, protein needs of women are greater during pregnancy and lactation than during non lactating state.

Deficiency

  • Loss of muscle mass.
  • Edema.
  • Thin hair.
  • Fatty liver.
  • Higher risk of bone fractures.
  • Stunted growth in children.
  • weak immune system
  • Constant craving.

Sourses

  • Eggs
  • Dairy Products
  • Fish and Sea food
  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Soya
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Pork
  • Beans and Pulses

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