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Importance of protein in human diet

 Importance of protein


Animal-derived foods such as milk and its products, meat, fish, poultry, and eggs play the most important role in the human diet as they provide us with high levels of protein. Proteins not only provide the essential amino acids that make up our body's cells, but they are also important in the form of central proteins and enzymes, as well as perform essential life functions such as reproduction, cell growth, maturation, and, cell differentiation. 

Amino acid

Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which are essential. According to the latest studies, amino acids whose absence in the diet of experimental animals used in laboratories can hinder development or cause death.

Classification of Amino acids

The dietary classification of amino acids is given below.

Essential Amino acids:

  •  Histidine, lysine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, methionine, threonine, leucine, isoleucine.

Semi Essential Amino acids: 

  • Arginine, tyrosine, cysteine, glycine, and serine.

Non-essential amino acids: 

  • Glutamic acid, aspartic acid, alanine, proline, and hydroxyproline.

Of the semi-essential amino acids, arginine and gluten are essential for chickens. Tyrosine and cysteine ​​are partial substitutes for phenylalanine and methionine, respectively. Serine can be a partial or complete alternative to glycine.

Protein classification:

Proteins can be grouped based on whether they are derived from animals or plants, thus they can be divided into two types 

  1.  animal proteins 
  2.  plant proteins.

Essential amino acids in animal proteins are higher in quantity and number than in plant proteins. and their nutritional value is also high. The rate of growth in white mice is considered a measure to determine the nutritional value of protein. Over some time, rats that contain protein in their diet gain two to three times more weight than rats that eat plant proteins.

protein classification based on biological differences between amino acids

Proteins are classified as complete and incomplete proteins based on modern knowledge of the biological differences between amino acids. 

Complete protein

Biologically complete proteins are those that contain adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids that our body needs.

We can add almost all animal proteins to the list of complete proteins.

 Incomplete proteins

 Incomplete proteins are deficient in one or more amino acids. This deficiency can be absolute or relative. Most plant proteins are considered incomplete because one or the other essential amino acid is missing.

Egg proteins are considered the standard for competing against the nutritional value of various items. egg proteins are more digestible. In addition to the synthesis of essential amino acids in the nutritional value of proteins, other important factors include the free release of amino acids and the digestion of proteins. Numerous experiments have shown that animal proteins are more digestible than plant proteins. These foods, such as milk, meat, and eggs, have a high potential for amino acids.

The required amount of protein in our diet:

There is no doubt that human protein needs have been assessed based on the experiences of development and delivery in children and adolescents. The combination of plant and animal proteins can be used in the best way possible.

Certain plant proteins that are deficient in certain essential amino acids can cause problems. Human needs can be met with even fewer animal proteins. It is well known that animal proteins are superior to plant proteins in terms of nutritional value. Developed countries have higher levels of animal proteins than developing countries and as the economic situation of the people improves, so does the consumption of animal proteins.

In many developing countries, food usually consists of grains and pulses. This includes very little food from animal sources. Animal feed is scarce in these areas. The prices of animal proteins are much higher than the purchasing power of the people. This lack of animal proteins is spreading the symptoms of malnutrition, 

In malnourished areas, most babies develop satisfactorily for about 6 months. They gain weight just like any other baby because their protein needs are met by breast milk.

After 6 months of age, their protein needs increase. Firstly, due to the increase in their growth and secondly due to the rapidly growing muscles, if the growing protein requirements are not met during this time, the growth stops. If the malnutrition is more severe, the symptoms of the disease begin to appear. Modern research has shown that these conditions affect not only the physical development but also the mental capacity of the child.

The brain is the fastest-growing part of the body. At the age of one year, it attains 70% of its total size. At the age of 3 years, the brain size reaches 80%. This rapid development occurs when most children do not have an adequate amount of protein.

How can we prevent protein deficiency?

 The simplest way to prevent the symptoms of protein deficiency is to include adequate amounts of animal foods in the diet for the best type of protein.

Food also contains enough energy for the proper use of these proteins. Although the nutritional value of milk, eggs, and meat are known, their production is often more profitable than that of plant proteins. The process of converting animal feed into animal protein is often slow and costly. May be In short, better production of animal products and their proper use in food is a guarantee of our physical and mental health.

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