Protein – Essential for Life

Each protein molecule is made up of several amino acids. Amino acids are known as the building block of life the body. Protein plays an important role in every process that takes place inside our body. There are 20 amino acids which works together to perform a several functions in the body. Along with carbohydrates and fat, you need adequate protein in your daily diet to support good health. Your body is constantly breaking down proteins for maintaining good health. So, you need a continuous supply of protein in your diet. You may already know that your body needs protein to build muscles. When you don’t get enough protein from diet, your body starts breaking down muscles to fulfill its needs. If you don’t get enough protein then you may get easily fatigued and may feel unable to carry out your daily activities. This may also compromise your immune function and makes you susceptible to illness.

Protein Sources – Dietary proteins are obtained from plant and animal sources. Dairy products, meat, poultry, fish and eggs are rich source of proteins which are obtained from animal sources. Whereas, whole grains and grain products, peas, beans, chick peas, lentils, soy, nuts and oil seeds also proide protein, obtained from plant sources.

Protein Quality – Animal proteins are known as ‘good quality or first class protein’ as they contain all essential amino acids. Whereas, plant proteins lack one or more essential amino acid, hence they are known as ‘second class protein’. The protein quality of plant protein can be improved by combining two plant sources (e.g. khichdi which is a combination or rice and dal) or combining one plant and animal source (e.g. curd rice is a good example where it contains curd and rice).