Proteins are essential for the proper functioning of the body. They play a crucial role in the structure and function of muscles, bones, hair, eyes, organs, as well as in the production of hormones and enzymes.
It is important to include protein in every meal. One recommendation is that about a quarter of the plate should contain protein-rich foods, according to Reginamaria.ro. High quality protein sources are meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. In addition to animal sources, beans, lentils, nuts, and soy foods such as tofu are good plant sources of protein, which also bring other important nutrients to the diet.
What are proteins?
Proteins are complex macromolecules essential for the functioning and survival of living organisms. They are made up of long chains of amino acids, which are grouped and linked together by peptide bonds.
Proteins perform a variety of vital functions in living organisms. They can act as enzymes, which facilitate the chemical reactions needed in cellular metabolism. Also, proteins are involved in the process of structuring and supporting cells and tissues, being important components of muscle structure, bones, tendons and skin.
In addition to these structural and catalytic roles, proteins also perform regulatory and signaling functions in the body. They can act as hormones, transmitting chemical signals between cells and organs, or as receptors, detecting and responding to environmental signals. Proteins can also ensure the transport of molecules in the body, such as oxygen in the blood via hemoglobin.
There are thousands of different proteins, each with its own specific structure and function. The structure and shape of the protein determine its function, and these characteristics are dictated by the sequence of amino acids and the chemical interactions between them, according to Harvard.edu.
What are proteins?
There are a variety of foods that contain protein that can be beneficial to the body. Here are some examples:
Meat and fish: Poultry, beef, pork, fish and other seafood are rich sources of animal protein. They provide a wide range of essential amino acids and are also a source of iron, zinc and B vitamins.
Eggs: Eggs are an excellent source of complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids the body needs. They are also rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients essential for bone health.
Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas are examples of legumes that contain plant protein. These foods are also rich in fiber, iron, magnesium and other important nutrients.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and others provide plant-based protein, healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.
Soy foods: Tofu, tempeh, and soy milk are plant-based sources of complete protein and also contain beneficial phytonutrients and isoflavones, which have potentially positive health effects.
Types of proteins
There are several ways to classify proteins according to different criteria. Here are some common types of protein and examples of foods that fall into each category:
Animal proteins and vegetable proteins:
· Animal proteins: Meat (chicken, beef, pork), fish (salmon, tuna, cod), eggs, dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese).
· Vegetable proteins: Beans (beans, black beans, white beans), lentils, nuts (cashews, almonds, hazelnuts), seeds (sunflower, sesame, chia), tofu, quinoa.
Complete proteins and incomplete proteins:
· Complete proteins: These provide all the essential amino acids needed by the body.
Examples: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, quinoa, soy.
· Incomplete proteins: These do not contain all the essential amino acids in proper proportions.
Examples: Legumes (beans, lentils, peas), cereals (rice, wheat, corn).
Lean animal protein and fatty animal protein:
· Lean animal proteins: Lean meat, skinless chicken, lean fish (wild salmon).
Fatty animal proteins: Fatty meat, pork, beef with fat, fatty dairy products (fatty cheese).
These categories are just some common examples of classifying proteins according to different criteria. It is important to get a variety of protein from different sources to ensure adequate intake of essential amino acids and other nutrients needed for optimal health and body function, he writes Thegurdian.com.
The role of proteins
Proteins play a crucial role in the body and are involved in a variety of essential functions. Here is a more detailed description of the role of proteins in the body:
Tissue synthesis and repair
Proteins are the building blocks of tissues in the body, including muscles, bones, tendons, skin and organs. They contribute to the growth, development and regeneration of tissues, as well as to the repair of damaged cells and tissues.
Enzymes and catalysts
Many proteins act as enzymes, catalyzing chemical reactions in the body. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down and metabolizing food substances, producing energy, synthesizing molecules and other vital metabolic processes.
Transport and storage
Some proteins are involved in the transport of molecules and substances in the body. For example, hemoglobin carries oxygen in the blood, albumin carries nutrients and chemicals in the blood, and lipoproteins carry fats in the body.
Immune system and defense
Immune proteins, such as antibodies, help protect the body against invasion by pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and other foreign substances. These proteins recognize and neutralize antigens, helping to clear infections and the immune response.
Some proteins are involved in the production and regulation of hormones, the chemical messengers that control physiological functions and processes in the body. Insulin, growth hormone, thyroid hormones, and steroid hormones are examples of hormonal proteins.
Proteins such as actin and myosin are essential for muscle contraction and movement. They allow muscle contraction and relaxation, including skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle.
Maintaining fluid and pH balance
Certain proteins, such as albumin and globulins, play an important role in maintaining fluid balance in the body and stabilizing blood pH.
List of proteins
Here is a list of 20 protein-rich foods that are important for the body:
1. Poultry (chicken, turkey)
2. Beef (beef tenderloin, steak)
3. Pork (pork chop, ham)
4. Fish (salmon, tuna, cod)
5. Eggs (egg white, egg yolk)
6. Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
8. Beans (black, white, red)
11. Nuts (cashews, almonds, walnuts)
12. Seeds (sunflower, sesame, chia)
14. Soy products (soy milk, tempeh)
15. Wild salmon
16. Poultry or beef liver
17. Greek yogurt
18. Quark (fresh cheese)
19. Cottage cheese
20. Flax seeds
Animal protein foods
The main foods that contain animal protein are the following:
· Meat: Poultry (chicken, turkey), beef, pork, lamb, rabbit.
· Fish and seafood: Salmon, tuna, cod, wild salmon, sardines, shrimp, mussels, lobster.
· Eggs: Chicken eggs, duck eggs, quail eggs.
· Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, cottage cheese, etc.), butter, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, cream.
· Fermented dairy products: Kefir, probiotic yogurt, whipped milk.
· Animal organs: Poultry or beef liver, kidney, heart, tongue.
Vegetable protein foods
Here is a list of foods that contain vegetable protein:
1. Legumes: Beans (beans, black beans, white beans), lentils, chickpeas, peas.
2. Whole grains: Quinoa, oats, brown rice, whole wheat, bulgur, buckwheat.
3. Seeds: Flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds.
4. Nuts and almonds: Cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts.
5. Soy products: Tofu, tempeh, soy milk, textured soy proteins.
6. Rice products: Rice milk, rice protein.
7. Oat products: Oat milk, oat flakes, oat protein.
8. Seaweed: Spirulina, chlorella, nori.
What happens if you don’t eat enough protein:
If one does not consume enough protein, various consequences and deficiencies can occur in the body. Here are some effects of a protein deficiency, according Nbcnews.com:
Weight loss and muscle weakness: Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Their lack can lead to muscle weakness, unintentional weight loss and loss of physical strength.
Weakening of the immune system: Proteins play an important role in supporting the immune system. Protein deficiencies can lead to a decreased ability to fight infections and heal wounds.
Delayed growth and development: Protein is necessary for optimal growth and development of the body, especially in children and adolescents. Protein deficiencies can affect height growth, muscle development and overall body development.
Skin, hair and nail problems: Proteins are important components of skin, hair and nails. A protein deficiency can lead to skin, hair and nail health problems such as dryness, brittleness and hair loss.
Digestive disorders: Proteins are necessary for the synthesis of digestive enzymes. A protein deficiency can affect normal digestion and lead to digestive disorders such as bloating, constipation or diarrhea.
Publication date: 06-05-2023 08:33
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