Protein has a very crucial role to play in the body. Proteins are large and complex molecules made up of a hundred thousand smaller units called amino acids. They are responsible for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.
Every cell in the human body contains protein therefore, meeting the daily protein requirement is important. To maintain a healthy body, you need 10 to 35% of your calorie intake which should come from protein. There are many plant and animal-based sources of protein such as beans, nuts, seeds, dairy products, and meat.
Let’s find out the important functions that proteins carry out in the human body.
- Tissue and Muscle Building: Protein plays a key role in building and repairing body tissues. Not getting enough protein in your diet may affect your muscles negatively. Many forms of physical exercise cause your muscles to tear and when your body repairs these torn muscles, they get enlarged. Protein in the body supports the immune system to heal tiny muscle tears. It is always advisable to take a balanced amount of protein as consuming extra protein will not help to build extra muscles.
- Producing Hormones: Hormones are chemicals produced by the glands in different parts of the body and promote coordination and communication between them. The protein hormones stick to the receptors on the cell membrane. Hormonal proteins, insulin, and oxytocin are key factors in controlling blood sugar levels and contractions during childbirth. Hormones also help the growth of muscles in the body by either increasing protein synthesis or by reducing protein breakdown.
- Immune Functioning: Proteins in the body supports the immune functioning of the body. Antibodies are unique protein configurations that help the immune system to defend against invaders. Antibodies are produced in the body once they are exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Proteins are capable of creating holes in the bacterial walls, promoting inflammation to destroy the invading organisms, and attaching to foreign substances.
- Enzymes: Enzymes are proteins that play a very important role in regulating many activities such as muscle contraction and relaxation, and nerve impulse transmissions. The enzymes Amylase and Lipase aid the body in the digestion of carbohydrates and fats from foods. Another enzyme called ATPase exports cell toxins and breaks down ATP (adenosine triphosphate) responsible for releasing energy.
- Energizing your Body: The protein present in food is broken down into amino acids during the digestion process and releases 4 calories per gram. The protein in meat makes a person feel fuller for a longer period. Proteins are a good source of energy that your body needs. Therefore, you must try including foods that are rich in both protein and carbohydrates.
You don’t need to go the extra mile to meet your daily protein requirement if you have a protein-rich diet. But it is best if you include health supplements in your daily routine.
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