Protein is a complex group of molecules that perform various bodily functions, and they are the building blocks of your hair, nails, bones, and muscles. Protein gives tissues and organs their shape and also helps them function properly.
What is protein?
Protein is one of the 3 most essential macronutrients (the others being carbohydrates and fat). Macronutrients are the chemical compounds humans consume most and provide energy. Proteins are molecules found in cells and are made up of amino acids.
The majority of amino acids to stay healthy are produced by our bodies, but it is incapable of producing nine amino acids and must be obtained through diet.
Importance of protein
Protein should account for at least 15% of your daily calories. The protein is broken down and reused by your body in various ways to provide energy to the body, strengthen the bone, boost the immune system, build muscles, etc.
Protein is essential for everyone, not just sports people and bodybuilders. That doesn't mean you should start drinking protein shakes daily; a well-balanced diet will give you enough protein.
Humans cannot survive unless all nine essential amino acids are present. Protein is necessary for stronger bones and body tissues such as muscles, but it does much more. Protein is involved in metabolic actions, enhances immune responses, provides energy, aids in cellular repair, and helps form blood cells, among other things.
The protein deficiency signs and symptoms are-
- Swelling: Swelling (edema) is a common symptom of protein deficiency, especially in the abdomen, legs, feet, and hands. One possible explanation is that the proteins in the blood, mainly albumin, prevent fluid accumulation in the tissues.In kids kwashiorkor is seen. However, edema can also be caused by various factors, so consult your doctor if you suspect it is more serious.
- Mood Swings: Protein deficiency causes mood changes. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that the brain utilizes to relay information between cells. Many of these neurotransmitters are amino acids, which are protein-building blocks. Less protein intake in the diet might result in the body not producing enough neurotransmitters, altering the brain's functions. You may feel depressed or aggressive if your dopamine and serotonin levels are low.
- Hair, Nail, and Skin issues: These are composed of proteins such as elastin, collagen, and keratin. When the body fails to produce enough protein, you may experience dry and flaky skin, brittle or thinning hair, and deep ridges on your fingernails.
- Fatigue: Not taking enough protein can affect the muscles and cause body posture and movement problems, especially after age 55 or older. And over time, protein deficiency can result in muscle mass loss, which reduces strength, causes improper balance, and slows your metabolism. Lack of protein causes anemia, which occurs when your cells do not receive enough oxygen supply, thus making you tired.
- Slow wound healing: People with less protein in the body often find that their cuts and wounds heal more slowly. Sprains and other exercise-related problems appear to be the same. It could be another side effect of your body producing insufficient collagen. Proteins are also required for blood clotting.
- Getting sick quickly: Amino acids in the blood helps your immune system in the production of antibodies, which activate white blood cells that fight viruses, bacteria, and toxins. Protein is required to digest and absorb other nutrients that keep you healthy. Protein has also been shown to alter the levels of gut disease-fighting "good" bacteria.
Include sufficient protein-rich foods in the diet to keep away protein deficiency. The good thing is that protein can be taken in many forms such as raw or cooked. So, make sure that you and your child eat a balanced diet that includes proteins for overall good health and well-being.