Proteins are organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in linear chain. Proteins are substances that serve as a vital part of living tissues. The very name “protein” is derived from Greek word “proteos”, which means “primary” or “the one that takes first place”. Proteins are making around 20 percent of our body weight and they perform a great variety of functions throughout the body. These complex molecules are comprised of a combination of different amino acids, arranged in unique ways to make each different protein.
Proteins in diet
Proteins are essential to healthy diet because they provide the amino acids that the body needs to synthesize its own proteins. Amino acids are divided into two main groups: essential and non-essential.
Essential amino acids are those acids that human body cannot synthesize. The importance of protein rich diet is primarily focused on obtaining essential amino acids from foods. Proteins are macronutrients, which mean that body needs quite large amounts of them to maintain proper health. However, most of us consume more than enough protein every day. It is estimated that an average American consumes about 50% more than recommended daily protein intake.
Recommended daily allowance of protein
Both men and women need approximately 0.8 gram of protein per one kilogram of body mass. However, the recommended daily allowance of protein may vary depending on the life style of a person in concern. People involved in heavy physical labor or exercise will need more protein daily. For this group of people, recommended daily allowance is somewhere between 1.2 and 1.8 grams per kilogram of body mass. People wishing to increase their body mass by muscle building could benefit from diet rich in proteins.
Their diet should contain 300-500 more calories than the regular diet, and provide 10-15% of protein. Balanced protein intake is very important for people who are trying to lose weight. Too much protein and low intake of carbohydrates, specific for many restrictive diet plans, may drive metabolism in the state of ketosis, suppressing appetite, causing people to eat less, increasing the elimination of fluids and losing of water weight.
Foods rich in protein
Certain foods are loaded with protein and relatively low on fats. These are considered to be the best possible dietary options for daily protein intake. Excellent sources of protein are tuna, shrimp, turkey, and cod. Very good sources of protein include snapper, venison, halibut, salmon, scallops, chicken, lamb, beef, calf's liver, spinach, tofu, mustard greens, crimini mushrooms, soybeans, and mozzarrella cheese. Good sources of protein consist of eggs, milk, collard greens, cauliflower and many legumes counting lentils, split peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans and garbanzo beans.