Importance of Protein

Protein is a crucial component of good health. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids, and upon the consumption of protein from your diet, it is broken down into amino acids from digestion. In order to maintain optimal health, it is important to ensure you are receiving enough. 

Amino acids can be classified as either essential or non essential. Essential amino acids cannot be made by the body, and must be obtained through the diet. Nonessential amino acids are made by the body from essential amino acids and the normal breakdown of proteins. 

The essential amino acids are found in animal sources such as meats, milk, fish, and eggs. They are also found in plant sources such as soy, beans, legumes, nut butters, and some grains. However the plant sources don’t contain all essential amino acids, but with a balance and  combination of different sources, you will be able to reach all the protein you need in your diet. It is less important to focus on consuming all amino acids at each meal, rather the importance is your overall day. 

Growth and Maintenance

Under normal circumstances, your body breaks down the same amount of protein that it uses to build and repair tissues. Other times, it breaks down more protein than it can create, thus increasing the amount you need. This is very much dependent upon your personal health and activity level. Periods of illness, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and those recovering from an injury or surgery, older adults, and athletes will require more protein. 

Biochemical Reactions

The body maintains metabolic balance through an interplay of chemical cause and effect that relies on a continuous supply of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats). Protein contributed in  numerous important ways to supporting healthy metabolism.

Enzymes are proteins that aid the thousands of biochemical reactions. The structure of enzymes allows them to combine with other molecules inside the cell which catalyze reactions that are essential to metabolism. Enzymes may also function outside the cell, such as digestive enzymes like lactase and sucrase, which help digest sugar.

Bodily functions that depend on enzymes include

  • Digestion
  • Energy production
  • Blood clotting
  • Muscle contraction

Muscle Development

When you exercise and lift weights, you create tiny micro tears in your muscles.  Those amino acids broken down from protein repair the tears to make them bigger and stronger. Therefore, it is important to note, simply eating more protein doesn’t necessarily mean direct gain of muscle mass. You also need to exercise and weight train, as well as eat a nutritious and balanced diet with fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

Appetite Control

Protein has been shown to help curb appetites even in a calorie-reduced diet. Among this, it has been shown to improve long-term weight management by promoting energy burning through and beyond periods of weight loss. Consuming  protein levels in the upper end of 0.8 to 1.2 grams per kilogram body weight also lowers blood pressure and promotes increased fat-free body mass, while consuming too little protein for your metabolic needs promotes weight gain. 

It is also important to consider, these are not solely the benefits of protein. There are numerous others to consider, such as the role they play in our hormones and bone health.

One thought on “Importance of Protein

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *