Protein can be found in animal sources like meat and dairy products, or plant sources like beans, nuts and seeds. According to the USDA, 10 to 35 p
Protein can be found in animal sources like meat and dairy products, or plant sources like beans, nuts and seeds. According to the USDA, 10 to 35 percent of your calorie intake should come from protein. Every cell in your body contains protein, so meeting your protein requirement is essential for your health.
Body Tissues and Muscles
Protein is necessary in building and repairing body tissues. If you do not receive enough protein in your diet, muscles wasting and other symptoms may result. Exercises like strength training cause micro tears in the muscle and as your body repairs these tears, it causes the muscles to enlarge. Protein is necessary to the immune response that helps to heal the tiny muscle tears. However, consuming extra protein will not help your body to build extra muscle.
Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in one part of the body that help coordinate activities and communicate with other areas. Protein hormones bind to receptors on the cell membrane instead of entering the cell directly. Hormonal proteins, like insulin and oxytocin, play vital roles like controlling blood sugar concentration and stimulating contractions during childbirth. Hormones can also activate muscle growth by increasing protein synthesis or decreasing protein breakdown.
Enzymes are proteins that bind to molecules to speed up chemical reactions. They play a role in many activities such as muscle contraction and relaxation, and nerve impulse transmissions. Amylase and lipase are enzymes that help you to digest carbohydrates and fat. The enzyme ATPase exports cell toxins, and is essential for breaking down adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which releases energy.
Antibodies are specialized protein configurations that provide a specific immune defense against invaders. They are produced by the body once it’s exposed to specific antigens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Complement proteins support the immune system as a second line of defense. They can create holes in bacterial walls, promote inflammation which attacts macrophages that destroy invading organisms, and attach to the foreign substances.
Protein is broken down into amino acids during digestion and provides four calories per gram. Including protein with meals can help you feel more satiated, and can keep you fuller longer. Although protein can be used as an energy source, the body’s main energy source is carbohydrates. Eating a diet with lean proteins like beans and fish, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables, and healthy fats such as olive oil and avocados is the best way to supply your body with energy.