Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue and can also serve as a fuel source. As a fuel, proteins provide as much energy density as carbohydrates. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low.
What is protein?
Protein is found throughout the body in muscle, bone, skin, hair, and virtually every other body part or tissue. It makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions.
Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass. When protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass, which helps metabolism.
Benefits of a Protein Rich Diet
- 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 your body’s needs. This typically happens in periods of illness, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. People recovering from an injury or surgery, older adults and athletes require more protein as well.
- Regulating body processes: Body processes are influenced by hormones proteins that act as chemical messengers to help cells, tissues and organs communicate. For example, they signal the uptake of glucose into a cell, stimulate the growth of tissue and bone, signal the kidneys to reabsorb water and aid in almost all facets of metabolism in your body.
- Provide structural component: These proteins provide structure and support for cells. On a larger scale, they also allow the body to move. Contractual protein is responsible for muscle contraction and movement. Structural protein assures that your cells maintain their shape and resist deformity. Keratin is a structural protein found in your hair, nails and skin. Collagen is another structural protein that provides the framework for the ligaments that hold your bones together, in addition to the tendons that attach muscles to those bones.
- Maintains proper pH: Protein plays a vital role in regulating the concentrations of acids and bases in your blood and other bodily fluids. A variety of buffering systems allows your bodily fluids to maintain normal pH ranges. A constant pH is necessary, as even a slight change in pH can be harmful or potentially deadly. One way your body regulates pH is with proteins. Hemoglobin binds small amounts of acid, helping to maintain the normal pH value of your blood.
Reported by Dr. Himani