Proteins

Proteins are one of the important macro nutrients which help sustain the body due to its regenerative action. Protein also helps in providing energy to the body, 1 gm of protein give 4 kcals of energy. Proteins are a part of and needed by almost every part of our body  from cells, hair, nails , cartilage etc. since the proteins are made up of building blocks called Amino Acids which are essential or non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be made by our body and hence need to be consumed in the diet v/s non-essential amino acids, called so since they can be created in our body. There are 20 types of amino acids, which accounts for 15-20% of total body weight. Enzymes, hormones and antibodies that are present in our body are made up of proteins. The 20 different amino acids are:

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine, histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Tyrosine
  • Valine

Protein needs are different for different age groups and different for both genders as well. Protein is essential in the body due to the various roles it plays in the body. Some of the functions of protein in the body are:

  • Antibodies are the body’s natural defence mechanism and these constitute proteins. Antibodies help in fighting against various foreign particles, viruses and bacteria.
  • Enzymes needed for various metabolic and anabolic reactions in the body need enzymes as catalyst. All Enzymes are proteins, however all proteins are not enzymes.
  • Proteins play the role of “messengers” as well, hormones found in the body which help transmit signals throughout the body are primarily protein based.
  • Proteins have a major role to play in the body building and repair function in the body.
  • Storage of various molecules and transport of atoms are also protein dependent.

Proteins can be found in various food sources like, milk and milk products, eggs, beans and pulses, soya products, nuts, poultry & sea foodetc are all rich sources of proteins which should be incorporated in the diet.

Author Name: 

Rohini Saran