Proteins Are A Vital Part Of Our Diet
A balanced diet, usually, consists of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. Meat is the most popular protein, but this does not mean that it is the only one that should be given a priority. There are different classes of proteins all obtained from different sources. Choosing a wide range of foods rich in proteins while paying attention to cholesterol and fat intake are crucial elements of healthy living. Proteins are present in the skin, muscles, bones and other organ tissues. They are also present in the hemoglobin of red blood cells that transports oxygen. Enzymes and hormones are either protein or have a protein component and are essential for chemical reactions in the body.
Role of Proteins in the Body
Proteins being nutritious to the body perform several important functions. A balanced diet with sufficient protein content is necessary in building, maintaining and repairing cells and tissues of the body. Structural components of the body such as the skin, muscles, bones, and organs are largely made up of proteins. Several enzymes and hormones responsible in catalyzing and regulation chemical reactions and body processes are protein in nature. Proteins are also responsible in making antibodies of the immune system that help in fighting diseases. Sometimes when there are not enough carbohydrates and lipids in the body due to starving, proteins are broken down to supply energy for the body.
Healthy Sources of Proteins
Low-fat foods are recommended as the best sources of proteins. There are a number of healthy protein sources such as nuts, beans, beef jerky, meat, fish, and dairy products with low-fat content. These sources are beneficial as they also supply you with calcium. Eggs are considered to be the ultimate source of proteins. However, egg yolk contains a high content of cholesterol and fat. Egg white is enough to provide enough proteins that you need in the body. This is why it is advised not to take more than two eggs per week. Other good sources of proteins include lentils, kidney, dried peas, cheese, yoghurt, whole grains and peanut butter. For instance, one cup of milk contains 8 grams of protein while one cup of beans provides 16 grams of protein.
Recommended Protein Content in the Diet
A healthy adult needs to consume a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This translates to 8 grams of protein consumption for every 20 pounds of body weight. This rate will prevent your body from breaking down other tissues without replacement. Excessive consumption of proteins leads to excessive gain in body weight that leads to other complications such as obesity and kidney diseases. Choose My Plate is a good source to go to for information on healthy eating and protein. Low protein content in the body results in a weakened immune system, fatigue and physical weakness due to loss of muscle mass.
The power of proteins in the body can, therefore, not be understated. Foods rich in proteins should form the integral part of a healthy diet. They should however be taken in moderation with other classes of food, carbohydrates and lipids, to ensure a balanced diet is consumed at every meal.