The word protein is derived from the Greek word ‘proteios’ which translates to “holding the first place”. The term “protein” was coined by a Swedish chemist, Jöns Jacob Berzelius in 1838.
Proteins are essential nutrients and are a great source of energy for our body. Protein supports the growth and functioning of our body and helps in developing organs, tissues, muscles, and hormones. Thus, it is essential to consume a high-protein diet along with regular physical exercises.
Proteins are considered as a “macronutrient,” which means we need relatively large amounts of high protein-rich food to stay healthy. Proteins are made up of amino acids which are commonly known as building blocks, as they are attached in long chains.
It typically takes 20 to 22 types of amino acids to combine to make up a protein. Protein comprises of 3 elements – Alanine, Arginine, and Asparagine.
Proteins are highly essential for our body as they perform all our major bodily functions. Proteins are converted into glucose to generate energy by carrying out important chemical reactions in our bodies. Several protein functions in our body includes –
A healthy protein-rich diet ensures and improves body metabolism and also helps in forming neurons which in turn transmit signals from one part to another part of the body.
Proteins are comprised of large compounds and are formed by the combination of smaller groups of amino acids. Protein plays a key role in the creation and maintenance of every cell in our bodies.
1 gram of protein contributes energy equivalent to 4 calories to the body. Thus, the protein intake of a healthy adult must be 10-35% each day. In order to stay fit, doctors and scientists recommend taking 1 gram of protein per 1 kg of body weight is required daily.
Consuming different types of protein and including high-protein foods has multiple health and fitness benefits such as–
Protein fills us up faster and consuming protein plus fiber keeps us full longer. This ensures that we don’t overeat. This helps to keep our weight in check while fuelling our cells with the right nutrients they need.
Here are 7 key health benefits of a protein-rich diet to ensure that you consume a variety of high protein foods regularly –
A protein-rich diet helps in building muscles in our body. It further supports the building of tendons, ligaments, and other tissues which help in maintaining a healthy muscle mass.
Protein also helps to repair damaged muscles. Healthy examples and types of protein include eggs, chicken, beef, beans, dairy products, tree nuts, legumes, and seafood. Among all the sources of proteins, beef is one of the richest sources of protein including zinc, iron, and folic acid.
Consuming protein is a healthy weight loss strategy. Protein curbs hunger as including high-protein foods helps in maintaining an ideal body weight as it prevents overeating. Adding a small or moderate amount of protein to our diet helps us to feel full for longer while satisfying our daily dietary requirements.
Protein increases our bone strength as it boosts bone metabolism by increasing calcium and magnesium absorption in our body. Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other similar dairy products are great sources of protein. Protein helps with osteoporosis (a very harmful bone disease) and also helps in healing bone fractures.
Amino acids promote detoxification and generate glutathione which helps in reducing carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer) in our body. Thus, by improving the overall health of the body, protein helps in slowing down the aging process.
Among high-protein vegetarian foods, soy protein is considered the best. Soy is high in protein and is good for heart health. Even including 20 grams of soy in daily diet can help one to maintain good health.
Proteins fight antigen and helps to improve our immune system and makes it stronger. Antibodies fight with antigens i.e. with foreign bodies responsible for causing infections and diseases within our body, as antibodies that fight various diseases are majorly made up of proteins.
Thus, proteins in the form of antibodies help in preventing diseases by boosting our immune system. Dairy products such as milk and their by-products such as cheese and yogurt are brilliant sources of protein. These products are also rich in all the minerals and nutrients required by our bodies. Rich in probiotic bacteria, yogurt is good for the digestive system as it promotes healthy gut health.
Several studies and research has proven that proteins significantly improve heart health and prevent high blood pressure. Switching from a carbohydrate-rich diet to a protein-rich diet lowers cholesterol levels. Furthermore, it controls obesity. Proteins in almonds and walnuts help in the prevention of heart-related diseases.
Seafood is an excellent source of protein. Fish such as salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are really good for promoting healthy skin. Apart from stimulating healthy skin, protein helps in preventing hair damage.
Keratin, a form of protein helps in preventing hair loss by maintaining a natural and healthy shine on it. Eggs are storehouse of health-packed nutrients and a great source of protein. Eggs are rich in keratin and are fortified with Omega-3 which encourages hair health.
Besides, being made up of amino acids, proteins affect our hormonal balance. As several enzymes are protein catalysts that help in balancing these hormones while carrying out various chemical reactions that occur in our body.
Proteins are rich in vital nutrients and play a critical role in our body. Being made up of large, complex amino acids, when broken down proteins generate energy and do most of the work in cells. Proteins are required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body's tissues and organs and promote overall improvement in metabolism.
However, we must bear in mind that as proteins are made up of amino acids which are highly complex substances, it takes a lot of effort to break them down completely into energy. Hence, excessive protein consumption can harm our bodies as it puts a lot of pressure on our liver and kidneys.