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Protein and its Importance

Sejal Kamat (Dietician)

Protein is found in the muscle, bone, skin, hair and virtually every part of the body and tissue. It is made of enzymes that have the power to start many chemical reactions and also hemoglobin that carries oxygen through your body. There are at least 10,000 different types of proteins which keep your body healthy and fit.

Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a 'macronutrient', meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Protein is also the second largest source of stored energy because of the large amount of muscle that is a steady source of amino acids.

Protein from sources, such as milk, is called complete, because it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.

Protein from pulses and legumes are considered incomplete because it lacks one or more of the essential amino acids. This can be a concern for someone who doesn't eat milk products.

Protein is particularly important for healthy growth in children. It assists in the building and growth of muscles, helps maintain healthy eyes and vision and also helps keep the immune system working properly. Studies have linked protein with both a temporary boost in metabolism and a suppressed appetite. Consuming protein is also particularly important for repair and maintenance in adults. Proteins help repair damage to your body and also reduce the effects of daily wear and tear.

Milk contains two types of protein: whey (20%) and casein (80%). Both are high-quality proteins, and both contain all essential amino acids in amounts suficient to support the multiple roles of protein in the body.

80% Indians Suffer from Protein Deficiency, Reveals Survey. A recent survey titled 'Protein Consumption in Diet of Adult Indians: A General Consumer Survey (PRODIGY) has brought to light striking observations regarding the protein intake in India. The Daily Dietary Allowances (DDA) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. This amounts to: 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man, 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman. One cup of milk contains about 8gms of protein which is 16% of the DDA and thus helps in regular intake of protein. As long as you have a variety of protein sources throughout the day, your body will grab what it needs from each meal.

Not only are dairy foods like milk, yogurt and paneer are excellent sources of protein, but they also contain valuable calcium which helps to fight osteoporosis.


Author Sejal Kamat Dietician
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