All about protein:
It is one of three macronutrients, which are nutrients the body needs in larger amounts. The other macronutrients are fat and carbohydrates.
It is made up of long chains of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. The specific order of amino acids determines the structure and function of each protein.
The 20 amino acids that the body uses to create protein are:
There are nine essential amino acids that the human body does not synthesize, so they must come from the diet.
They may be either complete or incomplete. Complete proteins contain all essential amino acids. Animal products, soy, and quinoa are complete proteins.
Incomplete proteins do not contain all essential amino acids. Most plant foods are incomplete proteins, including beans, nuts, and grains.
People can combine incomplete protein sources to create a meal that provides all essential amino acids. Examples include rice and beans, or peanut butter on whole wheat bread.
Protein is present in every body cell, and an adequate intake is important for keeping the muscles, bones, and tissues healthy.
It plays a role in many bodily processes, including:
Immune system responses
It is important for growth and development, especially during
Childhood, adolescence, and pregnancy.
Lean meats and poultry
Legumes, which include beans and peas
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, also contain protein. Whole grains and vegetables contain some protein, but generally less than other sources.
Animal products tend to contain higher amounts of protein than plant foods, so people following a vegetarian diet or a vegan diet may need to plan their meals to ensure they meet their protein needs.
Protein deficiency :
This can lead to malnutrition, such as kwashiorkor and marasmus, which can be life threatening.
Protein deficiency can arise if a person has a health condition, including:
An eating disorder, such as anorexia nervosa
Certain genetic conditions
Advanced stages of cancer
Difficulty absorbing nutrients due to a health issue such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastric bypass surgeryTrusted Source
Very low protein intake can lead to:
Weak muscle tone
Edema or swelling due to fluid retention
Thin, brittle hair
In adults, a loss of muscle mass
In children, growth deficits
Tips for getting enough protein
For most people, a varied and healthful diet will provide enough protein. For the best health benefits, people can get them from a variety of sources. These include fish, meat, soy, beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds.
To limit fat intake choose lean meat, poultry, and dairy products, or trim the fat before eating. Try using cooking methods that do not add extra fat, such as grilling.
Avoid processed meats and other processed foods, as these can have negative health effects. Choose nutrient-rich foods instead of processed foods when possible.