Proteins: types, sources and importance to the body

Proteins: types, sources and importance to the body

Protein is one of the important nutrients that the body needs, and it is always rumored that proteins come from meat only, while they are found in many other foods and not just meat.


are large molecules that the body needs for its cells to function properly. 

These proteins are made up of amino acids, and the structure and function of our bodies depend on proteins. 

The organization of cells, tissues, and organs of the body cannot occur without protein.

Proteins of all kinds make up the main component of muscle, bone, skin, and other tissues.

 In addition to the main component of red blood cells, as well as hormones secreted by the body and antibodies as well. 

One of the distinctive functions of proteins is that they are the building blocks of cells and the enzymes that regulate the functioning of the body.

Protein molecules are essential for the proper functioning of every cell in the body. 

The body can recycle some proteins, but it also needs some proteins from food because it can't manufacture or reuse them.

The human body contains about 100 trillion cells. Each cell contains thousands of proteins. 

Together, these elements make each cell do its job. Proteins are like small machines inside a cell.

Amino acids and proteins

A protein is made up of amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There are about 20 different types of amino acids. 

When these amino acids are arranged in different ways they produce millions of different proteins, each with its own function.

Amino acids are organic molecules composed primarily of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and some amino acids.

 But not all of them are made of sulfur. The importance of these 20 amino acids is that they make the proteins that the human body needs.




Proteins and their types

There are three main types of proteins:

  • Complete proteins: This type of protein includes all the essential amino acids and includes animal foods such as dairy products, fish, eggs and meat.
  • Incomplete proteins: This type mostly contains at least one essential amino acid, and this type includes plant foods, legumes, and grains.
  • Complementary proteins: This type includes two or more types of incomplete proteins that are combined to make a complete protein such as eating fortified rice or bread.

Protein sources

We must learn about food sources that contain proteins of all kinds. 

When a person eats foods that contain amino acids, these amino acids enable the body to produce or manufacture protein. 

If certain amino acids are not consumed, the body will not get enough proteins to function properly. There are nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot make and can only be obtained from foods that contain protein. The main sources of proteins are:

  • Fish.
  • Meat and poultry.
  • egg.
  • dairy.
  • Rice, pasta and bread.
  • Soybeans and quinoa are vegetarian sources of complete protein.
  • legumes;


deficiency: Protein deficiency occurs in the body due to a person's lack of protein in the diet.

 Some studies have recommended that adults get 10 to 35% of daily calories from protein, while for children it ranges from 10 to 30%.

So a lack of protein in the diet is a concern, especially with children, as it can lead to malnutrition issues such as protein deficiency and other potentially life-threatening illnesses.

But not getting enough protein from the diet is not the only cause of protein deficiency in the body.

The reason can be that the person has a health problem such as:

  • an eating disorder such as: anorexia nervosa.
  • Certain genetic conditions.
  • Late stages of cancer.
  • Difficulty absorbing nutrients, for example: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gastric bypass surgery.

The risks of protein deficiency in the body include:

  •  Osteoporosis.
  • Fluid retention,
  • hair loss and brittleness.
  • Skin infections
  • Loss of muscle mass in adults.
  • In children, growth stops.

What is the role of proteins?

Proteins have many functions and the role they play is a pivotal and important role for the human body. 

The main function of proteins in the body is to build and repair. The most important functions of proteins are:

  • Structural functions: Its goal is to restore and repair tissues such as collagen in the skin.
  • Hormonal functions: Its goal is to produce hormones and maintain their levels in the blood, such as the hormone insulin , and its main function is to regulate the level of glucose in the blood.
  • Transporters: Their role is to transport and carry substances between cells, such as hemoglobin that transports oxygen.

Protein and weight loss Protein

provides calories, and one gram of protein contains 4 calories, and the average person consumes 16% of their calories from proteins, whether they are vegetable or animal.

Most diets and diets for weight loss recommend eating large amounts of protein during the day.

 It encourages the body to lose extra kilograms in a healthy way.

But adding protein to an existing diet isn't likely to lead to weight loss, but replacing fats and sugars with protein may help you lose weight. 

But be careful because replacing high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein foods is very harmful and negative for the body, because we have to provide the body with all the different nutrients for its cells to function well.

When relying only on proteins, here the body misses the rest of the important nutrients that it cannot function without.

 So people should consider their overall consumption and eating habits when making this type of change, and speak with their doctor before going ahead with this diet.

The dangers of eating too much protein

Everything in our lives is harmful to a large extent, and from the harms of eating excessive protein causes gout, especially in the case of eating large amounts of meat.

It may also cause kidney stones, and increase the likelihood of developing large, harmful levels of cholesterol.

Excessive protein intake can also lead to weight gain, especially for athletes who take protein powders.

A large increase in protein leads to an increase in feelings of psychological discomfort and anxiety in general.

Therefore, it is not necessary to eat excessive amounts of protein, whether it is natural or powders available in the market.


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