Proteins are considered to be one of the most important nutrients. It is needed for individual’s growth, development and repairing of the tissue. The term Protein means ” To take first place”, was first introduced in the year 1838 by the Dutch Chemist Mulder as a “nitrogen-containing constituent” and without which the life is impossible.
In this article, we will try to give our readers a brief insight about protein, discuss its important functions ( Why life is impossible without it) and list the sources of good quality proteins.
What is Protein?
Protein is nothing but a compound made up with different amino acids molecules. As per the type and presence of the amino acids, the proteins are classified into different categories. The two images below explain that classification of proteins.
What are the functions of Protein?
The main functions of proteins include:
- It helps in growth and maintenance of tissue. (Muscle, hair, skin, collagen everything require protein as their building block)
- Essential Body components are created by proteins, example: enzymes, hormones.
- It helps in transporting all the nutrients to their destination, these types of proteins called: carrier proteins.
- It actively regulates the water balance of the body.
- It acts as buffer in the body, thus the optimal pH of the body is maintained.
- The Antibodies of immune system is made up of proteins, thus protein also helps in body’s defense mechanism.
- It also acts as a source of energy when the diet is inadequate in carbohydrate and fats(The primary energy sources of the body) . 1 gram of protein provides 4.0 Kilo-calories of energy.
What is the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of Protein?
As per the latest RDA report (2020) published by Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Nutrition, a healthy adult man of any activity group (Sedentary, moderate or heavy workers) requires around 54 gram of protein per day, whereas, a healthy adult woman of any activity group requires 46 gram protein every day. Though during pregnancy and lactation the protein requirements increases.
Sources of Proteins:
There are primarily two major division: Animal Sourced and Plant Sourced Protein. As from the above discussion, you already know about the protein quality deciding factors.
Animal Sources of Protein:
Some good proteins under this category:
- Milk and milk products
- Cheese (better if low-fat )
Plant Sources of Protein:
- Green Gram
- Watermelon seeds
- Whole Wheat
- Nuts and seeds
Cereals, in general, provide good amount of proteins as we consume cereals in greater amount daily. So even if sometimes, some amino acids may be deficit in any specific cereal, that is usually complemented by other cereals which contain those amino acids. Thus, the overall need of good proteins is satisfied.
Which is better-Rice or Wheat Protein?
100 grams of whole wheat provide 12 gram of protein, whereas, 100 grams of rice provide 7 gram of protein. Though the rice contains lesser amount in comparison to wheat, but the quality of protein present in rice is better than that of the wheat.
So in the end, we are well aware of the fact that why proteins are so important to live a healthy life. It is to be noted that there are several physiological conditions where dietitians recommend higher proteins in diet and in some of the critical cases , like kidney diseases, protein is restricted. It is always advisable to seek a proper diet chart from your dietitian as per your exact physiological conditions.
Stay Fit, Stay Healthy.
- B. Srilakshmi, Nutrition Science.
- Potter and Hotchkiss, Food Science.
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