PROTEINS : THE BODY BUILDING FOOD
The heading might sound very similar to you, something that you’ve already heard or read somewhere. If you do a small rewind, you might remember reading the exact same phrase in your primary and high school science textbook. You will be aware that the food you eat is made up of a number of nutrients named carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals,that are essential for your body. Each have their own function, of which protein is the most important one. Why? Let’s see.
What are proteins?
Protein is a component made up of a long chain of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms. It is a part of every cell in your body. In fact, hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Even your muscles, your organs and your immune system largely contain protein. Also, when you eat food that contain proteins, our system breaks it down into smaller units called amino acids that are used by our body to provide the essential proteins required by our body.
Why are they necessary?
Proteins have various roles to play with the development and functioning of your system. Our body is made up of a number of tissues that are subjected to constant wear and tear while we carry on our daily task. Proteins help build, maintain and repair these tissues, as part of a regular process. They also help with the creation and secretion of certain enzymes, hormones and other chemicals. Hemoglobin, the most important component of your RBC, that helps transport oxygen throughout your body is made with the help of proteins. It is instrumental in the building of our cardiac muscles. Furthermore, proteins also serve as a building block for bones, cartilages and skin.
How much protein does your body require?
Protein comes under the category of “macronutrients”, meaning you need it in large amounts to stay healthy. But unlike the other macronutrients (carbs and fats), your body does not store proteins. 13 out of 22 essential amino acids can be secreted by your body on its own, from the regular food that you eat. The rest belong to the category of essential amino acids and have to be acquired from protein rich foods.
The amount of protein required varies from person to person depending about their weight and activity. However, studies suggest that an average woman requires 46gms of protein and an average man requires 56gms of protein per day.
Protein comes from a variety of sources, including meat, milk, fish, soy, and eggs, as well as beans, legumes, and nuts. Proteins that come from animal sources are considered complete since they contain all the 9 essential amino acids whereas vegetables might lack in one or two of them. It isn’t necessary ‘always’ to have a meal that contains all the 9 amino acids. As long as you have a variety of protein sources through-out the day, your body will absorb the required as and when you eat.
The benefits of a protein rich diet include curbing hunger, accelerated recovery of tissues and muscles, reduced muscle loss, building of lean muscle and maintenance of weight.
So, it’s time to break the thought that proteins are required only if you want to hit the gym or be a body builder. Proteins are equally essential for our normal body process as well. Make the required additions and lead a healthy life!