Proteins are present in every cell of human body and are made up of chain of amino acids. They are important in growth and development in children, teens, pregnant women. They help to repair the cells and make new ones. 20 amino acids form thousands of different proteins. Proteins are characterized as complete and incomplete. Complete protein provides all the essential amino acids at once eg: sea food, eggs, meat, dairy. While incomplete proteins provide only some of the amino acids that are required every day hence have to be consumed as variety of foods throughout the day. Eg: whole grains, nuts, beans and lentils. The protein requirement depends on the activity level of the person.
Just as one monitors his/hers calorie, sugar, salt intake similarly they should also monitor the protein intake in the meals. It should be consumed daily .It is considered as a macronutrient and is required in large amounts to stay healthy. It cannot be stored unlike fats and carbohydrates.
Body needs Protein for:
- Building bones, cartilage and skin. The hair and nails are mostly comprised of proteins.
- Build and repair tissues.
- RBC’s contain protein that carries oxygen and some nutrients throughout the body.
- Making digestive enzymes which aids digestion and make new cells and body chemicals.
- Hormone regulation especially during puberty.
Benefits of proteins:
- Curbing hunger: Protein keeps one full for a longer time thus avoiding the hunger cravings and in turn helps to maintain a healthy body weight.
- It speeds up the recovery process in an injury or exercise
- Reduces loss of muscle.
- Build lean muscle.