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PROTEIN| All You Need To Know

What is protein?

It is a food component that is needed for the overall health and wellness of the body. It provides energy to the body. Protein also makes up the body or they build your entire body including your organs and muscles. It makes up 20% of the body in an average human being.  

What does protein look like?

Protein looks like a string of pearls/ beads on a necklace. Each pearl is called an amino acid. Many amino acids string together to make a protein. These proteins can have 11 beads or more in them. This long chain of pearls can be folded and rolled upon itself to create the protein. 

How does the protein from food we eat become a part of the body?

Proteins are found in many foods like eggs, all meats, beans, etc. Every time you eat protein foods like egg or a piece of chicken or chickpeas the string of pearls (protein) in the food breaks in the body releasing the amino acid pearls loose. 

These pearls go to different parts of the body and become a part of your organs and muscles. These loose pearls join again to form more pearl chains/ proteins of varying lengths. These proteins help the body to function well and stay healthy.   

Below are some biological functions of protein and the reasons why you should consume adequate quantities of protein.  

It gets digested/ broken in the body to release energy. 1 gram of protein provides 4 Cal of energy.

The immune system is the army of the body and germs (bacterial/ viruses) are the enemy. The soldiers in the army are called immune cells. The immune cells (soldiers) use protein weapons to destroy the attacking enemies (bacteria and other germs) to protect us from diseases and falling ill.

You should make sure you provide your body with protein every day to build and maintain a strong army for good health. 

Different organs in your body communicate or send messages to each other. The messengers are proteins called hormones. Hormones are manufactured in one organ and swim to a different organ to deliver it a message. They help all the organs in the body to communicate with each other so that the body can function efficiently. 

The messenger proteins should be made in the right quantity and at the right time of the day or month for the body to function properly. So, make sure your supply your body with proteins for your organs to function well and in harmony. 

Proteins from food are needed by the body to make other proteins called enzymes. Enzyme is a type of protein which is required to destroy harmful chemicals in the body, it also helps the body digest/ breakdown the food we eat and use it for health, It’s also used to build muscles in the body and help you breathe. 

Every meal should be balanced. It should consist of carbohydrates, protein and fats. If you eat too much of carbs and little or no protein you can feel hungry too often. 

Carbohydrates keep you full only for a short period of time.  This makes you eat too often to gain weight. More carbs and less protein in diet = stomach full for short period of time = more hungry often = eat more food/ take in more calories more often = weight gain

If you have more protein than carbohydrates it will keep you full for a longer period of time.  Protein tells your stomach to make less quantities of a hormone called Ghrelin. Less Ghrelin = less hungry= eat less food/ fewer calories less often. 

We can conclude that, a high protein diet will reduce your appetite, calorie intake to help manage and will help you lose weight. 

Adding protein supplements for weight loss is a way to lose weight. It keeps you full for a long time by helping to control your appetite.

Protein is required to maintain and build strong bones. It is required to maintain healthy calcium levels in your bones and reduce bone loss. 

Keratin is a protein required to keep hair strong, prevent your hair from breaking and protect it from heat damage. Biotin is a protein which is required to stimulate growth of hair/ make your hair long and healthy.

Keratin also controls the strength of nails and makes them more resilient to damage/ less brittle. It also keeps skin firm. Collagen and elastin are two other proteins to keep the skin supple.

Collagen is a protein that makes up 75 to 80% of the skin.  This is used to make the skin healthy and elastic. It is also needed to heal wounds on the body. It also holds difference parts of the body together and ensure they fit together. 

Elastin helps keep the skin intact after stretching and contracting. i.e it helps the skin return to its original position after it is pinched or poked. 

Anyone who does a form of physical activity should be make sure their protein intake is adequate. During physical activity the muscle develops small tears. The protein from amino acids is used to repair the muscles.

Whether you want to lose body fat or grow muscles you need protein to provide you the physical strength to workout. People exercising should up their protein intake depending on the intensity of the activity, body weight, etc.  It is crucial to meet your protein intake to keep up with the muscle tear and repair cycles. 

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One should up their protein intake if pregnant. Protein is required to build and make the organs of the baby growing in the womb. 

It is also required for building more breast tissue in response to the increase in breast milk production and storage in the breast.  It is required to make more uterine tissue. Make the uterus more comfortable like a soft comfortable bed for the growing baby.

The muscles naturally become weak and start to breakdown as one ages. The need for protein to maintain muscle strength and keep them intact increases with age. There are so many foods with protein in them. 

Now we know all the reasons to consume protein!

How much protein should a woman consume every day?

The average woman needs 0.8 g of protein per 1 kg body weight.

An average Indian woman who is sedentary, does moderate or heavy work and weighs 50kg and needs to consume 40g of protein/ day.

The requirements for proteins increase during pregnancy for growth and development of the baby and also during lactation depending on the weight of the woman. Intake can also be changed based on age, health condition and activity level (more for athletes/ intense exercise).

Below are some foods that contain protein

Does this mean one’s body gets 17 g of protein after eating a cup of boiled eggs??

NO. The amount of protein in the food consumed and amount of protein used up from the food by the body is always less. 

Is it sufficient to provide you adequate protein every day?

Not all natural food sources provide an quantity of protein or meet the protein needs of the body. Sometimes one may or may not consume a balanced diet to meet the protein needs of the body. At times like this it is important to supplement the diet with a protein supplement

Is there a single source of protein that meets the needs of protein for a woman?? Yes!

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