Protein and its importance
by Freya • 4 minutes read
Last updated: 22 Jun, 2022
You may have heard that protein is an important part of our diet when choosing a healthier lifestyle, but you may not know why and what its benefits truly are. Look no further as we have the protein guide for you!
Firstly, what is protein? Protein is one of three important nutrients we need a large amount of everyday, these include protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Protein is a naturally occurring substance that consists of amino acid residues joined by peptide bonds. There are two types of amino acids, one that can be made by your body and the other that is essential for your body but cannot be created by it, therefore you need to include it in your diet.
It is vital to include it in your diet as it allows us to grow and maintain every part of our bodies.
A high protein diet also helps repair and grow tissue, bone and collagen as well as make up the structure of collagen in our skin, hair, and nails.
It can also be an important factor for creating antibodies that protect us against viruses while at the same time producing hormones such as enzymes which will carry out important chemical reactions in our body's cells.
Another major part it plays is helping our bodies carries oxygen throughout in the form of haemoglobin in our blood.
You can find protein in a range of different foods, but those that have a large quantity of protein in them include:
- Beef steak
- Brown rice
- Cottage cheese
- Peanut butter
How much protein do we need? Well, this can depend on your lifestyle choices, but the recommended amount for adults is 0.75g per kilogram of bodyweight per day.
However, you should always consider your lifestyle when trying to figure out the amount of protein you need, for example someone that is trying to build muscle and does intense weight training everyday will need a large quantity of protein daily.
You can easily up your protein intake by adding more than what you usually would from the ingredients listed above or you can use protein shakes, these can be a good source of protein with low calories or high calories, depending on the type you use.
What are the main functions of protein?
Protein plays a part in supplying energy to our bodies.
Although it provides energy, carbs and fats are better sources of energy as your body needs to use the protein for other functions in order to be effective in these areas.
If you were to not eat for 18-48 hours, then your body will begin breaking down skeletal muscle so that they can use the amino acids for energy, thus finding whatever protein it can to give you energy
Growth and maintenance
Protein is an effective source for maintenance and growth of tissue. Protein provides the body with the essential amino acids it needs to grow and maintain our cells and tissue.
Note, how much protein you need for your body to complete these functions will depend on your health and activity level.
Maintains pH levels
Protein is essential for keeping acid and base levels balanced in the blood and other body fluids.
Your body regulates pH through proteins like haemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells. Haemoglobin ties the smaller amounts of acid, helping to maintain the correct pH level of your blood.
Supports your immune system
Protein helps form antibodies to fight infection, these antibodies are proteins found in your blood that will help to protect your body from virus or bacterial infections.
- Energy Metabolism in the Liver - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4050641/
- Effects of short-term energy deficit on muscle protein breakdown and intramuscular proteolysis in normal-weight young adults - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24945715/
- 9 Important Functions of Protein in Your Body - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/functions-of-protein#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2
- Amino acids and immune function - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17403271/
- Structure and Function of Immunoglobulins - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3670108/
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