Why should we include protein in our diet?

Why should we include protein in our diet?

The word protein originated from Greek language and means “primary” or “to take place first”. Proteins are made up of amino acids linked together. Proteins and amino acids are the building blocks of our body. Each and every cell and tissue in our body contains protein. From this nugget of information one can understand how important protein is to our body.

Protein has a multifaceted role to play in our body. Proteins are large biological three-dimensional molecules and they are essential

  • For our immune system,
  • For the innumerable reactions that take place in our body,
  • To transport vital substances in the body,
  • To provide structure to our body,
  • For some hormones.

 But the most important function protein performs in our body is aiding growth and maintenance of tissues. Our body experiences wear and tear all the time. We can say that protein is the macronutrient that helps in servicing our body and keeps our body in good running condition. 

Another crucial role that protein plays is that it is part of all the reactions that take place in our body. How is that? That’s because enzymes are needed for the countless reactions that take place in our body continuously and all enzymes are nothing but proteins.

What are amino acids?

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. There are hundreds of amino acids in nature but there are about 20 which are found in living things. The content and the sequence of different amino acids vary in different proteins.

Amino acids can be divided into three classes based on their necessity by our body into

  • Essential amino acids,
  • Non-essential amino acids
  • And conditionally essential amino acids.

The amino acids that cannot be made by our body and have to be provided on a daily basis by our diet are termed as essential amino acids. And those that can be synthesized by our body from other constituents are referred to as non-essential amino acids. Then come the conditional essential amino acids which are actually non-essential but in certain circumstances such as illness they become essential.

How much protein do we need?

We do not store protein in our body hence it becomes necessary that we eat protein on a daily basis to meet the requirements of our body. We need amino acids in our reservoir in the body so that substances that are amino acid derived can be produced. If there occurs a time when one amino acid is lacking or limiting in the reservoir a protein containing that particular amino acid cannot be made.

Protein turnover is the term used to describe the continuous breakdown and production of protein in our body. Protein breakdown mostly takes place in the liver and muscle but the same amount of protein is produced the same day. So, we end up having the same amount of protein in our body.

To make sure that we have sufficient amino acids in the amino acid pool of our body to produce the required amount of protein, we need to consume the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of protein. The RDA of protein for an adult is 0.8 gm per kg body weight. Protein requirements vary on individual basis and depend on various factors such as age, physical activity, physiological status (being pregnant) and health status.

In general, the protein requirement for growing children, pregnant and lactating women, athletes will be higher. In some cases, such as chronic renal failure medical experts may recommend a diet in which protein may be restricted to a certain extent.

How to get the required amount of protein?

Several foods provide protein. Animal foods which include eggs, meat, poultry, sea food and other foods of animal origin are good sources of protein. Among plant foods soyabeans and soya products (such as nuggets and granules), dals, nuts and oil seeds are the main sources of protein.

Because we do not store protein in our body and it is needed to perform several important functions in the body, we need to eat a balanced diet every day that contains recommended daily allowance of protein.

VegPro products are rich source of protein as they contain 52 % protein. Incorporating VegPro products regularly in the diet is a step towards fulfilling protein requirement.

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