Protein is an integral nutrient that performs several roles in the body. It is required for normal growth and repair of damaged body tissues. You need proteins to maintain proper health. Do not also forget that this nutrient provides energy, which is responsible for normal body metabolism. In this article, we will look keenly at protein nutrition to inform you of everything you need.
First, keep in mind that different foods have different amounts and combinations of amino acids. This is what makes up proteins. You derive amino acids from animal sources such as eggs, meat, and fish if you are not a practicing vegetarian. On the other hand, if you are a vegan, you can combine different plant sources for your daily dosage of protein. To help you understand why you need proteins, let us look at the importance of this nutrient.
Proteins play several roles in the human body, which are both structural and fundamental. Structural proteins are responsible for the shapes of different organelles, whereas functional proteins drive different metabolic processes. First, proteins play an important role in the growth and repair of different tissues, which is huge. It comes second to water when comparing the abundance of different compounds.
Most of the body’s protein content is found in the muscles and the remainder in the skin. This nutrient, however, exists thanks to amino acids, which are the building blocks. To help you understand this nutrient further, let’s take a look at amino acids.
Amino acids exist in long chains, which make up a protein. The role that proteins play in the body is influenced by their structure, size, and shape. Therefore, there are different sequences and characteristics of amino acids. Animal and plant proteins contain roughly twenty amino acids, eight of which must be in the diet of an adult. These are mostly referred to as essential amino acids. They are leucine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, methionine, phenylalanine, lysine, and tryptophan.
Children also have their essential amino acids. These are glycine, arginine, cysteine, glutamine, proline, and histidine. These must be incorporated in the meals since kids cannot make enough amino for their needs. Once these are provided, the other remaining types can be left out, thanks to transamination. This means that your body can manufacture amino acids on its own, which are considered non-essential amino acids.
How much protein do we need?
This is one of the most challenging questions to answer. However, the amount of protein one needs depends on the dietary requirement. For an adult, 0.6 g of protein per kilogram bodyweight would be sufficient. Reference Nutrient Intake limit is 0.75g per kilogram body weight in an adult. The daily protein requirement of most people, therefore, falls between 45 and 56 grams. Breastfeeding women and infants, on the other hand, require more proteins.
These excess proteins in these two categories of people are necessary for energy provision. Most men in the UK take an average of 88g of proteins daily while the women take around 64g, more than the value we discussed. Also, keep in mind that different foods have different protein values. However, some of the best sources of this nutrient are meat, fish, milk, cheese, cereals, nuts, and pulses.
How will you get protein from your diet?
You get protein from food since most of the foods we eat have either animal or plant cells full of proteins. However, you need to note that food preparation normally affects the amount and proportions of some amino acids. As you eat, keep in mind that the quality of the protein you receive from the food is essential. Just like all the other factors, it depends on the amino acids present. You will reap more from animal protein compared to plant protein.
While most scholars and dieticians have different things to say about this, it all boils down to the fact that the pattern of protein found in the animal cell is similar to that in the human body. Therefore, we have first-class and second-class proteins, which refer to animal and plant protein, respectively.
To gain more proteins, you can as well combine these two sources. Both animal and plant protein will complement one another, which is everything that you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Due to the different amino acids that exist, some, if not most, are limited. Therefore, combining both sources or drawing from the two takes care of these limitations.
This is one of the reasons why most vegans or vegetarians combine different plant protein sources, which help them gain as many proteins as meat lovers. People living in regions with low protein intakes are also usually encouraged to take different protein sources since this complimentary property plays an important role.
What is animal protein?
You must have heard people mentioning animal proteins and wondered what they mean. It refers to proteins obtained from animals. It can either be the animals themselves or their products, such as eggs. Most of the common sources of animal proteins are eggs, milk, cheese, and fish. However, you need to settle on the low-fat options if you do not want too much fats.
Good protein sources
There are several sources of proteins. However, some are better than others due to their higher protein content. These include fish, white meat, lean meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy. Plant protein sources include pulses, beans, grains, and nuts. You can, therefore, choose to have a chicken breast or pork tenderloin for your lunch.
Can you manage your weight by eating lots of proteins?
Yes. You will end up feeling fuller and therefore, will not need food as much. It would be best if you included a protein source in your meals every morning or afternoon.
Proteins are highly nutritious. Fortunately, there are several protein sources that you can turn to for your daily protein needs. You can also take more proteins if you want to lose some weight.
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