09 Jan Why is Protein so important for your diet?
The word “protein” has been connected to terms such as meat, weight loss, muscle mass and athletes. However, proteins are not associated only with these definitions. Proteins function as “building blocks” for our cells, play many different roles for our body and can be absorbed by our body through the consumption of various foods, in addition to meat. But what are proteins, which are their functions and which foods are rich in them?
The biological role of proteins
The three-dimensional structure of proteins, which results from the amino acid sequence, determines their biological role. Like other biological macromolecules, proteins are vital to all living things and are involved in every process that takes place within cells.
First of all, proteins are essential for the synthesis of hormones, enzymes and other biomolecules that are valuable to the body. Many proteins function as enzymes that catalyze biochemical reactions and are of great importance for metabolism. Furthermore, they are involved in the development of bones, blood and skin. Some proteins, in fact, have mechanical functions, such as skeletal proteins, which maintain the shape of cells. They also facilitate intercellular communication. Other very important functions of proteins are the following:
Reducing body fat and speeding up metabolism: Protein can significantly reduce our body fat levels, because it intensifies the feeling of satiety and pushes our body to “burn” more fat. Adequate protein intake is essential to maintain our metabolic rate at the desired levels, as well as to get rid of extra pounds.
Building muscle mass and strengthening strength: With age, strength is significantly reduced. However, adequate protein intake can protect us from falls, reduce the risk of fractures and enhance the mobility of our body. In fact, according to a new study, the consumption of adequate amounts of protein by the elderly helps to slow down the loss of muscle mass. People who took protein as a supplement had greater muscle mass and increased muscle strength.
The importance of proper protein distribution between daily meals
Of course, it is important to emphasize that it is not only the integration of proteins in our daily diet that plays a role. Proper distribution between the meals of the day is also very important, as through the distribution of the amounts of protein in as many meals as possible, our body is constantly supplied with nutrients which can be reused by our body whenever it has the most needs.
Foods rich in protein
Protein is an essential nutrient in our diet. It is important, therefore, to know enough about the foods that are rich in protein, the biological value of the protein contained in various foods, as well as the quantities we need to consume daily in order to fully meet our needs.
Foods rich in protein are eggs, poultry, meat, legumes, nuts, fish and some plant products (chia seeds, quinoa). Chicken and beef are basic sources of protein, as per 100 g. provide 24.7 g. and 19.5 gr. protein, respectively. In addition, legumes are high in protein foods. In particular, lentils provide about 18 g. and beans 15 gr. protein per cup.
Furthermore, fish contain high amounts of protein. Specifically, salmon and sea bream contain 20 g. and 17 gr. protein, respectively, per 100 g. Other rich sources of protein include peanut butter (8 grams of protein per 100 grams), tahini (2 tablespoons contain 5 grams of protein) and pumpkin seeds (10 grams of protein per cup).
The biological value of protein
The biological value of a protein is related to the amount of amino acids it produces when it is broken down by our body. The higher the percentage of amino acids and nutrients that the protein provides depending on the portion size, the higher its biological value. Also, the biological value of protein is determined by whether it can be assimilated and utilized by our body.
A key feature of proteins is the fact that they can not be stored as a reserve in our body, unlike carbohydrates and fats. Therefore, we need to supply the necessary amount of protein through our diet, at regular intervals, throughout the day. More specifically, the recommended daily intake of protein ranges from 25-35 g. every three hours. However, the required daily protein intake needs vary among certain population groups.
Animal and vegetable protein: which is more beneficial?
Both plant and animal products contain specific amounts of protein. However, plant foods are inferior to animal foods in the amount of amino acids they provide. Animal products include all the amino acids that are needed to grow and maintain our body. For this reason, animal proteins are considered to be of high biological value, unlike plant proteins, which do not provide our body with all the essential amino acids. However, it is not yet clear how much one particular protein source outperforms another in order for our body to reap the greatest possible benefits. Some even claim that everyone can improve their muscle health, regardless of the source, provided that the recommended daily protein intake is met.
This is evidenced by a new scientific study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Protein intake through a Unique Blend and therapeutic Molecular Nutrition
Protein is essential in our diet, as humans are unable to synthesize all the amino acids. However, the modern way of life and daily obligations require vigilance. As a result, many people do not have the time they need to turn their attention to eating protein-rich foods, let alone including these foods in all their main meals. Many, in fact, have such a full schedule to the point that they manage to eat only one meal throughout the day.
However, the need to supply our body with all the valuable micro- and macronutrients, such as proteins, is imperative in order to ensure the health of our cells. Specialized diagnostic tests that exist can detect at a molecular level deficiencies that the cell presents in valuable nutrients and based on the diagnostic findings, the appropriate Medical Therapeutic protocols can be formulated.
The treatment is based on the administration of a “Unique blend”. It is a personalized mixture of micro- and macronutrients, which is given to each patient, in order for the body to regain valuable nutrients. In fact, the combination of “Unique Blend” with an individualized plan of therapeutic Molecular Nutrition can offer tangible and significant beneficial results.
Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.
Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).
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