Proteins are very large molecules that can be found in every cell in our body. They’re one of the most abundant substances in our system (second only to water), and we need them to function and to regulate all of our organs and tissues. Proteins are made from smaller units called the amino acids, and depending on the sequence of amino acids and how they attach to one another, we get different types of proteins that are used for different processes. From structural components of our cells, to antibodies that help us fight viruses and bacteria, these little molecules are very important for our health. If you want to know more about the importance of proteins and how you can make sure your body has enough, read on.
Proteins are involved in the creation of several hormones, and they help regulate them and make sure that our body is in balance. For example, insulin is a type of small protein that regulates our blood sugar levels, and helps our liver and pancreas do their job properly. It signals our body to absorb glucose from blood so it can be used for energy, and it’s absolutely essential for us. People with type 1 diabetes need to take a synthetic version of this hormone just to stay alive, otherwise, their body starts using other sources of fat and protein to fuel itself.
The antibodies we mentioned are all made of protein as well. They help identify antigens from bacteria and viruses, then attach themselves to these bad cells, surrounding them and keeping them contained until they can be destroyed by the white blood cells. They are essential for a healthy immune system, and if you wanted a way to stay healthy during the flu season and prevent any infections, it’s actually not a bad idea to eat things like chicken soup and fish, which are pretty good sources of protein and can help keep you strong.
The Building Block Of Muscles
Speaking of strength, proteins also play a huge role in building muscle tissue, and they’re really important both for athletes and people who are simply trying to get into shape. They can help you become stronger, so grabbing a protein powder before your workout will give you enough fuel and make it easier to exercise. Take enough protein and a small amount of carbohydrates and you’ll be helping your body burn fat cells instead of muscle cells to get its energy, and you’ll also build more lean muscle mass. Protein is also essential in tissue repair, so you’ll be speeding up your recovery process and helping prevent future injury by keeping your body well-supplied.
The energy gained from protein isn’t something that can only be applied to workouts, either. Have you been feeling lethargic and slow lately? You want to eat more lean meats, particularly fish and poultry, and reduce your intake of beef and pork. If you’re a vegan, you will need to fill up on protein through soy, beans, tofu, lentils, and other plant-based sources.
Transportation & Storage
Protein can bind itself to other molecules and be used for storage. For example, ferritin combines itself with protein molecules and then it’s used to be stored in the liver. It can also be used for transportation, and this is mainly seen through hemoglobin, which transports oxygen through our body by binding itself to protein molecules and traveling through the bloodstream.
Enzymes are a type of globular proteins that participate in all chemical reactions in our body. From aiding digestion and metabolism, to helping create our DNA structure, they are essential for our survival and they are catalysts that speed up reactions, break down certain molecules, and build other molecules. If you want to know more about enzymes and how they interact with different systems in our body, you can read about it here.
How To Recognize Protein Deficiency
Protein deficiency is more common with vegans and vegetarians, but it can happen to anyone who simply isn’t too fond of eating meat for one reason or another. Slow metabolism, sluggishness, trouble with weight loss, joint and muscle pain, poor concentration, and low muscle mass are just some of the symptoms, but they should be taken very seriously because our body does need protein to survive. If you suspect you might be deficient it’s extremely important that you go see your doctor and consult them on how best to incorporate more protein into your diet.
Given the importance of protein for pretty much all processes in our body, paying attention to your diet and taking enough of it to power you is essential. From protein shakes to roast chicken, eat your dose of protein and enjoy the benefits of having more energy and a stronger body.
Scarlet is a passionate writer and regular contributor at ripped.me interested in fashion, lifestyle, and health. She loves traveling, you could say that she is a real travel addict, especially when she has a chance to visit some exotic destinations. She would tell you that inspiration can be found in the most unexpected places.