Submitted by Thiruvelan on Fri, 11/25/2011

Protein takes part in every living cell in the body. We need proteins to build and maintain bones, muscles, and skin. We need to eat protein every day, because it is not stored in our body as in the case of fats or carbohydrates.

It is important to get enough dietary protein. You need to eat protein every day, because your body does not store it the way, it stores fats or carbohydrates.

What are proteins?

Proteins are making out of thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are combining to one another into long chains. There are 20 amino acid types, which are combining differently to make a protein. The amino acid’s sequence determines each protein’s specific function and its unique 3D structure.

About 20, amino acids are found in the human body, on that 10 are considered as essential (cannot produce them internally) and so must be included in the diet.

A diet that contains adequate amounts of amino acids (especially those that are essential) is particularly important in some situations: during early development and maturation, pregnancy, lactation, or injury (a burn, for instance). A complete protein source contains all the essential amino acids; an incomplete protein source lacks one or more of these.

Complete Protein and Incomplete Protein

Only some proteins can have all the amino acids needed to build newer proteins; this protein called as complete protein (its sources are from the animal).

Other proteins may lack few essential amino acids (the amino acids that cannot be made by the body) needed to build newer proteins; this protein is called incomplete protein (its sources are from the fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts).

It is possible to combine two or more incomplete protein sources to make it complete protein. Some of the sources of dietary protein include meats, tofu (soy-products), eggs, legumes, and dairy products (milk & cheese).

Vegetarian sources of protein

  • Legumes - kidney beans, soybeans, split peas, kidney beans, lima beans.
  • Nuts & Seeds are almond, cashew, peanut, walnut, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, sunflower seed.
  • Grains are barley, brown rice, millet, oatmeal, wheat germ, wheat, wild rice.
  • Vegetables - beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, green peas, green pepper, mushroom, mustard green, onion, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, turnip green.
  • Fruits are apple, banana, grape, grapefruit, orange, papaya, pineapple, peach, and pear.
  • Yeast and Algae (from freshwater)

Importance of Protein

Proteins do most of the job in cells, and they are requiring for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs.

  • Structural - Proteins are the basis of many of our body structures muscles, skin, and hair.
  • Antibodies - can bind to harmful viruses and bacteria and help protect us.
  • Enzymes - do almost thousands of chemical reactions that happen in the cells and throughout the body.
  • Messenger - proteins such as hormones do signaling to coordinate biological processes between varies cells, tissues, and organs.
  • Transport - proteins join and transport atoms and small molecules within cell and allover the body.
  • DNA & RNA formation is carrying out by proteins; these nucleic acids are responsible for how our body cells are form and behave.
  • Protein molecule is a form of amino acids, and it is characterizing by the addition of nitrogen and sometimes sulphur (unique smell of burning hair keratin - protein).
  • Maintenance - Our body requires amino acids to make new proteins and to replace damaged proteins.

It is recommending that adults should get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight per day (or 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight) for their own healthy tissues.

There is no protein or amino acid storage facility available in our body, so diet must have amino acids (protein). Excess protein consumption is discarding with the urine.