Nutrition Basics: Introduction To Proteins
To keep up your health and proper growth, your body require different micro and macro nutrients, like carbohydrates, vitamins, lipids and proteins. Likewise, other nutrients proteins also play a prime role in your body. Nothing in your body would work properly without proteins.
"Proteins are may be defined as large biological molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific order. The structure of a protein contain carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and Sulphur."
There are lots and lots of different proteins in an organism, or even in a single cell. They come in each size, shape, and type you can imagine, and everyone has a remarkable and particular function. As proteins composed of amino acids So, the way that the amino acids are linked in a protein indicate that proteins form and function.
Why Do We Need Proteins?
Proteins known as the "building blocks of our life". Every inch in our body is composed of protein. As every structure and organ in our body made up of proteins so, we need a good supply of proteins from our diet for the proper functions of these structures and organs. Aside from these proteins also assume an important role in regulating our blood pressure, hormonal or enzyme synthesis and immunity.
Deficiency of proteins may lead to serious health issues like edema, hair loss, pale skin, weight Loss, headache and sleeping issues. Not majority of the symptoms of protein lack are physical. Some are emotional, or mental like depression, anxiety and lack of energy, no desire to do things.
Classification of Proteins:
Classification of proteins done on the basis of:
- Nature of molecules
On the basis of shape:
- Fibrous Proteins: These are threadlike structures form of fibers and are insoluble on water. For example, actin, and myosin.
- Globular proteins: These are the polypeptides chains that are coiled about themselves to form spherical molecules and are soluble in water. For example, insulin, albumin and hormones.
On the basis of Constitution:
- Simple proteins: These are the proteins that are only composed of amino acid. For example, albumins.
- Conjugated proteins: These are the complex proteins in which non-amino acidic substance are present. For example, glycoproteins.
- Derived proteins: These are the proteins derived from simple or conjugated proteins. For example, peptides.
On the basis of Nature of Molecules
- Acidic proteins: These proteins exist as anion and have acidic amino acids.
- Basic proteins: These are proteins that are exist as cation and are rich in basic amino acids.
Functions of Proteins:
There are countless functions and benefits of proteins in our body and some of the are listed below:
One of the most prime function of protein is that it provides energy to our body. During the digestion process, proteins breakdown into amino acids and provides four calories per gram. If we intake more proteins than sufficient amount, the extra proteins will be used to create fat and will become part of fat cells.
Proteins form immunoglobulins that are the antibodies. Antibodies are the proteins that shield our body from harmful invaders and protect us from infection and serious diseases. When these outside invaders enter our cells, our body produces antibodies that label them for end. In this way our body develops an immunity and destroy these invaders even they enter in body in future.
Hormones are the chemical substance that act as messenger in our body and essential for normal growth and function of life. Some proteins are hormones that convey between different organs. For example, insulin is a small protein act as a hormone that regulates blood sugar level. It involves the interaction of organs such as the pancreas and the liver.
Enzymes are the proteins that speed up the various chemical reactions in our body. Number of reaction in our body could not proceed without enzymes. For example, these enzymes assist during digestion process. They break large food particles into digestible small particles.
Development and Maintenance
Hair, skin, eyes, muscles and organs are all made from protein. In this way, our body need proper amount of proteins for the growth and development of these parts of body. Even body need these proteins to heal and repair such part if it effected or injured.
Beside this, proteins give structure to cells, store and transport nutrients, maintain pH level and keep the body fluids balance.
Source of Proteins:
There are many source from which we can take appropriate amount of proteins. The major source are eggs, tuna, milk, lean meat, nuts and bread. Chicken is also a very popular source protein. Milk products like butter, cheese and yoghurt also contain proteins. Beans and pules have large amount of proteins. Beside this, seafood is also major source of proteins.
There is protein in every cell of the human body from skin to hair to nails. Although, there are number of types of proteins out there they are all very important. Life seems impossible without this nutrient. Therefore, it is highly important that we get enough of this nutrient as part of our diet.