Haven’t you heard of the ‘High on protein, low on carbs’ health mantra lately? With so much emphasis on this important body component, we try to understand its significance for our body. To say that protein is an important component of every organ of our body is to state the obvious. No wonder, we see athletes and bodybuilders consuming extra protein to bulk up. But the message the rest of us often get is that we’re eating too much protein.
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood too. No wonder, the body needs large amounts of proteins as opposed to Vitamins and minerals which are needed in small quantities.
There are other health benefits of proteins like:
Stronger Immune System
Proteins are vital for the body in building a stronger immune system. The body runs a mechanism of self-defense and protects itself from various infections and diseases with the help of antibodies which are specific proteins with an ability to detect antigens and also deactivating it.
Improved Nervous System
The receptor proteins assist in the transmission of nerve signals within the cells and regulate the central nervous system.
Balancing and regulation of fluids present in the body is another critical task performed by the proteins. Fluid balance in the body is also important for other functions such as the functioning of muscles and nerve cells.
Proteins can also benefit the body by being a source of energy. Consumption of the diet which fails to provide enough energy to the body such as during starvation or weight loss programs causes the body to use its own functional proteins in order to compensate. As the body does not store extra proteins, enzymes, and muscle proteins break down to yield amino acids to provide energy or synthesize glucose and ensure a continuous supply of energy to the cells.
Proteins help in maintaining healthy hair and protects them from damage. No wonder, proteins are widely used in the manufacturing of hair care products such as conditioners.
Proteins are also responsible for extending mechanical support and strength to various tissues which suffer from constant wear and tear such as skin.
Sources Of Protein
Good sources of proteins are not hard to find for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Vegetarians can choose from nuts, seeds, soy products like tofu, dairy products, and legumes including a variety of beans such as pinto beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and split peas. Non-vegeterians can derive their proteins from eggs, chicken, red meat and fish.
Skip high-protein diets for good health.
Just because our body does not store proteins, it should be packed with extra proteins. There are people who thoughtlessly jump on the high protein/low-carb diet to help weight loss.
Weight Gain: If enough care is not taken in tracking the calorie intake, it can cause the amino acids to get converted into fatty acids resulting in weight gain. Focusing only on the protein-rich diet may also lead to the deficiency of other essential nutrients in the body.
Cardiovascular Problems: High protein diet can aggravate the conditions of heart diseases and cholesterol problems raising it to unhealthy levels.
Ammonia: Ammonia is a derivative of protein metabolism. Ammonia is very hazardous to the body and hence the body naturally converts it into urea. Kidneys accumulate the urea and flush it out of the body through urine. The protein consumed in excess of daily requirements puts extra strain on the kidney to detoxify the body.
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