The Power of Protein

In today’s world, joining the gym is a growing trend amongst the youth. But, another thing that needs to be taken care of is the daily nutritional needs of the body. Physical activity is an essential aspect of good health. But, taking care of what we eat is equally important.

Weight loss and a muscular body is a trend these days. We need to understand that being fit is not a luxury but a necessity. Eating right is one of the simplest ways through which one can attain his or her health goals.

We are all aware of the importance of nutrition in maintaining good health and active life. Nutrition is a process that helps us receive all the critical nutrients necessary for our survival.

One such nutrient is the protein that comes under the category of macronutrients.

Read further to know more about the role of protein in our daily lives. We will also talk about the consumable forms in which protein is available for us.

What is Protein?

Protein, a part of the macronutrients group, is one of the main elements of the living cells. It helps in building muscle mass. This form of macronutrients is a combination of around 20 amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Protein acts as a fuel for the body and provides it with the stamina to function well.

Protein plays an essential role in almost all the cell processes. There are different types of proteins which individually look after each function.

The nutritional value of protein can be seen by the number of amino acids it provides us with. Animal sources of protein contain all the amino acids that protein has. Food products such as soy, quinoa, and leafy greens are also full of amino acids.

Some of the best sources of protein are dairy products like cheese, milk and yoghurt. Some others are lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs, lean meat and soy products such as tofu.

Let us go ahead with the different types of proteins and their roles in cellular activities.

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Types of Protein

There are seven different types of protein-based on the function that they perform in the human body.

The list of seven types of proteins is as follows.

Antibodies

This type of protein protects the human immune system. Antibodies act as the defence agents against any unwanted or unfavourable elements that enter our body. They protect us from various viruses and bacterias. Antibodies travel in our body through the bloodstream.

Contractile Proteins

Contractile is the second type of protein. It is responsible for muscle movement and contractions. Actin and myosin are the subtypes of contractile protein.

Actin

Actin is a type of contractile protein that helps in muscular and cellular contractions and movements.

Myosin

The second type of contractile protein is the support system of actin as it provides it with the requisite amount of energy to perform well.

Enzymes

Enzymes are the third type of protein. They aid the biochemical activities within the human body.

Hence, they are also known as catalysts. Few known examples of enzymes include pepsin and lactase. They help in regulating the digestion processes. Another form of digestive enzymes is salivary amylase. It helps in the breakdown of starch into sugar.

Hormonal Proteins

Hormonal proteins are proteins which help in certain bodily communications from within. Hence, they are also known as messenger proteins. Insulin, somatotropin and oxytocin are three examples of hormonal proteins.

Insulin

Insulin helps in regulating blood sugar levels in human beings.

Somatotropin

Somatotropin is a growth hormone. It enlightens the path of protein to the muscle cells in an adequate amount.

Oxytocin

Oxytocin helps in the regulation of contractions at the time of childbirth.

Structural Protein

Structural proteins act as protectors of keratin, collagen and elastin, which are few other protein types.

Keratin

It energizes the protective shields such as skin and hair in human beings. They perform a similar function with beaks, feathers, horns, and quills of other organisms.

Collagen and Elastin

Collagen and elastin act as supporters of the connective tissues. Connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments gain their grip from collagen and elastin.

Storage Proteins

Storage proteins are the ones which act as preservers of amino acids till the time they become worth using. Ovalbumin, casein and ferritin are three types of storage proteins.

Ovalbumin and Casein

Ovalbumin plays an underestimated role in the transport and storage of metal ions. Egg whites are rich in ovalbumin.

Casein is a milk protein which aids in proper growth and development of young ones.

Ferritin

Ferritin is a form of storage protein which helps in the storage of iron in haemoglobin.

Transport Protein

Transport proteins are the ones which carry molecules throughout the body. Haemoglobin and cytochromes are two types of transport proteins.

Hemoglobin

It is responsible for the red colour of human blood. Haemoglobin also helps in the transport of oxygen in human beings.

Cytochromes

Cytochromes are responsible for the transport of electrons within the human body.

It is time that we talk about the role of protein in the process of nutrition.

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Role of Protein in the Nutrition Process

Protein is one of the significant nutrients that a human being requires regularly. It acts as a fuel for the human body, which builds, strengthens and maintains the cells and tissues.

Human beings need an adequate amount of protein at all stages of growth. Be its infancy, childhood, teenage, pregnancy or old age. The requirement of protein for a person may vary as per his or her activity level and daily schedules.

A person with injuries may need more protein than anyone else. Similarly, a person who is recovering from illnesses and surgeries may require the right amount of protein regularly.

People who are into hardcore gyming and physical activities should also consume the right amount of protein.

Now, let us try to understand the benefits that protein can bestow upon us.

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The Benefits of Protein

There is controversy concerning the health benefits of fats and carbohydrates. But, people are well aware of the benefits of proteins these days. Not only does protein aid weight loss and metabolic processes. There is a reason why protein is known as the building block of the human body.

Some scientific benefits of proteins are as follows.

Controls Appetite

If we go by the studies and researches, we will find that protein is one macronutrient which helps us feel the fullest for the longest duration. Nor fats, neither carbs can beat proteins in this concern.

Protein plays a vital role in reducing the hunger hormone known as ghrelin and increases peptide YY. Peptide YY is a hormone that helps us feel full for longer durations. A protein-rich diet also helps one fight hunger pangs and late-night snack cravings.

Hence, we can say that protein-rich diets help us feel full for a long time. In turn, we end up consuming fewer calories regularly.

Positive Impact on the Muscle and Bone Health

Protein is known as muscle food. Adequate consumption of protein daily helps one maintain the muscle mass. Not only supports, but proteins also enhance the growth and strength of muscles in the human body.

Protein is the fundamental element that forms a muscle. Proper and intelligent choice of protein-rich food can help us maintain muscle strength.

There is a myth that animal protein is bad for human bones. This myth is followed by the fact that protein increases the acid load of the body. In turn, the acid reduces the calcium from the bones to support its neutralization.

However, the fact is that people who consume an adequate amount of protein live better than those who don’t. Such people have better muscle and bone health than any others who don’t live by protein. A protein-rich diet reduces the risk of osteoporosis.

Has a Great Impact on the Metabolism

We know that eating is a process that enhances the metabolic rate of humans. But, eating a protein-rich diet is a better way of doing so.

Proteins help our body to digest and burn the calories in a better way and make the food useful for our body. The effect of digestion of calories is known as the thermic effect. The thermic effect of proteins is higher than that of any other nutrient. It is somewhere around 25-30%.

Higher the thermic effect, better the metabolic processes. Hence, make sure that you eat an excellent protein-rich diet if you desire a proper metabolism.

Maintains BP Levels

Numerous studies show that proteins aid in maintaining blood pressure levels. Out of control blood pressure can lead to many health issues such as stroke, heart attacks and chronic kidney problems. Not only this, but a fluctuation in the blood pressure levels may also hurt the body’s cholesterol levels. Hence, worsening the condition all the more.

An adequate amount of protein in a person’s diet can save him or her from all of this.

Now, you are aware of the benefits that the consumption of protein has in our lives. Let us talk about how much protein is good for us to consume regularly.

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How much Protein Should One Consume Daily?

Various factors decide the amount of protein that one should consume regularly. A list of a few such factors is as follows.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Activity level, and
  • Overall health

For someone who has a healthy weight and doesn’t believe much in exercise, then, somewhere around .3-.6 grams of protein per meal is good to go.

For Men

The average protein requirement of a male is somewhere between fifty to ninety grams regularly.

For Women

The need for protein for an average woman regularly is somewhere around forty to seventy-five grams.

However, for people with illnesses and diseases, the daily intake of protein should be as per the doctor’s discretion. People who are into sports, athletics and hardcore gyming might need more protein in their diet than other human beings.

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What Happens if We Consume Excess Of Protein?

We are well aware that excess of anything is wrong. Same is the case with what we eat. Overconsumption of any of the seven nutrients can carry some complications along with it.

We know that a protein-rich diet has numerous benefits. But, an excess of protein in a person’s diet can do more harm than good.

A list of harms that the excess of protein can lead to is as follows.

  • Unwanted weight gain
  • Lead to bad breath
  • Causes constipation
  • May lead to dehydration
  • May cause kidneys to damage
  • Can cause heart problems
  • Lead to loss of calcium

So, ensure that you consume only the amount of protein that you need, not more than that.

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Protein Deficiency

The situation of the human body when the intake of protein does not walk hand-in-hand with the body’s requirement. It is that circumstance where the protein intake is less than the need. This lack of protein may cause changes in the body’s composition. Such changes may lead to specific health issues.

Some of the health issues which occur due to protein deficiency are as follows.

Edema and Fatty Liver

Swelling and puffiness of the skin can be a result of protein deficiency. It is known as edema. A lack of protein in humans may lead to a sudden fluid buildup in the abdomen. Low serum albumin levels are one of the primary reasons for such swelling in the body.

So, if you notice any such swelling of belly-bloating, consult a doctor ASAP.

Another thing that can happen in the case of protein deficiency is a fatty liver. It is common for people who are obese and consume a lot of alcohol. If not treated in time, fatty liver may lead to liver failure or damage.

Problems concerning Skin and Hair

Human, skin, hair and nails constitute a lot of protein. So, protein deficiency is likely to show a negative impact on them. Protein deficiency in children may lead to red patches on the skin.

Loss of hair, dull hair and chipped or fade nails are causes of protein deficiency.

Loss of Muscle Strength and Weak Bones

Human muscles are primarily made up of protein. So, a protein deficiency may lead to waste of muscle tissues. It is not only a cause but also one of the initial signs of protein deficiency.

Not only muscles, human bones also fall prey to protein deficiency. Bones become vulnerable to injuries such as fractures in case a person is protein deficient.

Following this section of the article, we know that it is vital that we avoid being protein deficient. Some of the best ways of doing so is to eat protein-rich foods.

Now, that we know about the consequences of protein deficiency, let us use the sources of protein to the fullest.

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Protein Powder

Apart from being there in the food products, protein is also available for consumption in the form of powder supplements. Protein powders come under the category of processed foods. Protein powders are processed as it is almost impossible to extract protein from food by processing it.

In case you are unable to meet your daily protein requirements through your diet, opt for a protein powder. It is also a great option if you are travelling and are not carrying food along with you. Protein powder is amongst the most popular food supplements. Five types of protein powders are available for consumption.

The types of protein powders are as follows.

  • Whey
  • Soy
  • Casein
  • Hemp
  • Pea

One fact is that non-vegetarian sources of protein are more effective than vegetarian ones. A thing that can be of great help is the protein powder.

But, are the side effects of using protein powders more than the benefits?

Let us find out.

Benefits of Protein Powders

Protein powder proves more helpful for people who are into sports and vigorous physical activity, considering the enormous requirements of protein in their body.

Some of the benefits of protein powders are as follows.

  • Help in post-workout recovery
  • Promote muscle growth and weight gain
  • Adds to daily nutrition.

Alongside benefits, there are also some side effects of using protein powders.

Side Effects of Using Protein Powders

As we all know, protein powder is processed food. So, they are likely to have some side effects as well.

Some of the side effects of protein powder are as follows.

People who are allergic to dairy products shall stay away from milk protein powders. Same goes with those who find it difficult to digest lactose.

One more side effect of using protein powder relates to the extra sugar content in it. This will not only add to the calories but can also disturb the blood sugar levels in a person.

Now, we are also aware of protein in the form of supplements. Let us sum up with some tips that will help you suffice the daily protein needs of your body.

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Some Tips at your Rescue

Some of the ways through which one can take care of his or her protein needs are as follows.

  • Start your day with protein
  • Opt for cheese as your snacking option
  • Add almonds and other nuts to your meals
  • Yoghurt is something that you can rely upon
  • Add protein to every meal
  • Choose lean proteins
  • A combination of fruits and peanut butter is great
  • Opt for homemade protein bars
  • Go for a protein shake with fruit in it
  • Add cottage cheese to your diet
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Conclusion

Protein is an essential nutrient which comes in the category of macronutrients. It plays a role in the proper growth and development of the human body. It aids in weight loss.

We have listed numerous reasons why protein is known as the building blocks of the human body.

Protein is available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian food products. It is also available in the form of powder supplements.

We hope that we managed to convince you to add more protein to your diet. Try and consume it as per the needs of your body. Eating what you need will help you remain fit and energetic throughout the day.

Disclaimer: In this blog, the blogger aims at spreading awareness about the topic and does not claim anything mentioned in it. The readers are advised to use their wisdom while reading the blog. Following the suggestions of the blogger is the readers’ decision. The blogger shall not be responsible for any positive or negative results that the readers experience in practising the tips here.

 

4 Comments
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