Functions of Protein

Proteins aid in the formation of antibodies that enable the body to fight infection. Proteins serve as a major energy supplier. There are distinctive kinds of proteins, each performing a unique function in the body. Proteins form a major part of your body, next to water. The composition of proteins in the body is like that muscle contains about 1/3 protein, bone about 1/5 part and skin consists of 1/10 portion. The rest part of proteins is in the other body tissues and fluids. Even blood contains loads of proteins. In fact the hemoglobin molecule is nothing but proteins. Our body requires proteins for the purpose of maintenance and healthy growth. The need for consuming proteins is especially more for infants, young children, pregnant women and recovering patients. There is a constant breakdown of proteins in the body and this explains the reason why we need to consume proteins on a regular daily basis. It becomes of prime importance to ensure that you have your daily-recommended protein intake, so as to improve your health fitness.

Protein has a range of essential functions in the body, including the following:

• Required for building and repair of body tissues (including muscle) • Enzymes, hormones, and many immune molecules are proteins • Essential body processes such as water balancing, nutrient transport, and muscle contractions require protein to function. • Protein is a source of energy. • Protein helps keep skin, hair, and nails healthy. • Protein, like most other essential nutrients, is absolutely crucial for overall good health.

Proteins are, in effect, the main actioners in cells and in an entire organism. Without proteins the most basic functions of life could not be carried out. Respiration, for example, requires muscle contractions, and muscle contractions require proteins.

Proteins as Enzymes The function of proteins as enzymes is perhaps their best-known function. Enzymes are catalysts—they initiate a reaction between themselves and another protein, working on the molecule to change it in some way. The enzyme, however, is itself unchanged at the end of the reaction. Enzymes are responsible for catalyzing reactions in processes such as metabolism, DNA replication, and digestion. In fact, enzymes are known to be involved in some 4,000 bodily reactions.

Proteins in Cellular Signaling and Molecular Transport Cells signal one another for an enormous variety of reasons, the most basic of which is simply to coordinate cellular activities. Signaling is how cells communicate with one another, allowing such essential processes as the contraction of the heart muscle to take place. Proteins are important in these processes due to their ability to bind other molecules—a protein produced by one cell may bind to a molecule produced by another, thus providing a chemical signal which allows the cells to provide information about their state. Proteins are also involved in molecular transport. A prime example of this is the protein called hemoglobin, which binds iron molecules and transports them in the blood from the lungs to organs and tissues throughout the body.

Protein Composition Proteins are organic macromolecules made up of linear chains of amino acids. However, while

a protein’s basic structure is a linear amino acid chain, the final structure of a protein is not linear. Instead, the protein’s amino acid sequence—and the physical and chemical properties of the amino acids and of the entire protein molecule - influences how it folds into a three dimensional shape. The amino acid sequence of a protein is determined by the base pair sequence in the gene which codes for the protein. There are twenty ‘standard’ amino acids (along with one or two non-standard proteins which are not coded for by DNA in the usual sense). Structural Proteins These are less ‘active’ than those involved in catalyzing reactions, signaling cells, and transporting molecules, but are no less important. Structural proteins are those which confer strength and rigidity to biological components which would otherwise be unable to support themselves.

Structural proteins tend to have very specific shapes—long, thin fibers or other shapes which, when allowed to form polymers, provide strength and support. Structural proteins are essential components of collagen, cartilage, nails and hair, feathers, hooves, and other such components. Structural proteins are also essential components of muscles, and are necessary to generate the force which allows muscles to contract and move.

Top 10 foods that are rich in protein

Fish and Chicken
Fish is a good source of high quality, easy-to-digest protein. The fat and sodium count is low but it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon lowers LDL (bad) and raises HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Healthiest fish choices are: Alaskan wild caught or sockeye salmon, yellow fin tuna, halibut, flounder, shrimp, and cod. Chicken is high in protein, and the fat content can be lowered by removing the skin prior to cooking. Best dietary choices for chicken are white meat portions prepared by baking, poaching, grilling, or broiling.

Nuts, Seeds, and Peanut Butter
Many people hesitate to include nuts and seeds in meal planning because these foods are high in fat. This important food group contains good, monosaturated, fats. Add these nuts and seeds to your diet on a regular basis to take advantage of their protein . Wheat germ contains 2 grams of protein per tablespoon, and also provides dietary fiber. Its pleasant, nutty flavor enhances foods like cereals, casseroles, smoothies, and vegetarian dishes. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and can be healthy if you follow a few guidelines. Look for brands with no added sugar and reduced fat contents. Enriched peanut butter that contains omega 3 fatty acids is another smart choice. Just remember, moderation is the key with nuts and seeds.

Yogurt and Cottage Cheese
Yogurt and kefir are healthy high protein foods. Low in fat and rich in beneficial bacteria, they are easy-to-digest and promote intestinal health. To make the best nutrition choices, look for brands without additional sugar or other additives, low in fat, and containing active cultures. Alternatively, you can make your own yogurt. Cottage cheese is higher in protein than milk – one half cup contains twice as much protein. Purchase reduced or low fat versions and enjoy a lean protein boost.

Soy and Legumes
Soy is the only plant protein containing all eight essential amino acids. The bland taste makes it perfect for combining with other foods, and it is gentle to the intestinal tract. Soy reduces LDL cholesterol, contains 40% protein, and is used to make tofu. Best soy choices are: soybeans, tofu, soy milk, soy butter, tempeh, and soy spouts.

Legumes are protein powerhouses. With zero fat, and low cholesterol, beans are important diet components and are helpful in planning meatless meals. Best protein rich legume choices are green lentils, chickpeas and garbanzo beans.

Eggs
Eggs are still one of the most economic sources of high protein. With the advances in technology and concern for the environment, consumers can choose from organic or designer eggs. Organic, free range eggs come from certified farms and have no additives or exposure to toxic pesticides. Designer, or nutrient-enhanced, eggs contain higher levels of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids

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