Saturday 21 December 2013

Protein:the forgotten food

             Most people associate protein with bodybuilding or building big muscles. Nothing could be further from the truth. As you will learn, protein is essential for a strong and healthy body.    Volumes have been written about protein. I am going to make this complicated subject as easy to understand as possible. The protein you eat is broken down into molecules called amino acids. There are 24 amino acids. 16 of these are called non-essential, meaning that your body can produce them. The remaining 8 are called essential, meaning that you must get them from external sources. In less than 6 months, every protein molecule in your body is broken down and rebuilt. Foods that contain all 8 essential amino acids are called complete proteins. Foods that are low or lack one or more of the 6 essential amino acids are incomplete protein. All 8 essential amino acids must be present and in proper proportion for full protein synthesis to occur. If just one is missing or low, protein synthesis will drop or stop altogether. Hormones which control your growth, sexual development and your metabolic rate are constructed from protein. Protein is necessary for the creation of enzymes that are necessary for basic life functions and anti-bodies that fight off foreign substances in the body.
            Protein is also necessary for the formation of milk during lactation. Severe protein loss occurs as a result of particular bodily stress such as surgery, wounds, prolonged illness or even exercise. If your protein intake is too low, you can expect the following:

(i) poor tissue development
(ii) mental depression
(iii) tiredness
(iv) weakness
(v) lowered resistance to disease and infection
(vi) slow healing of injuries and recovery from exercise

              Too much protein can create its own set of problems. Excessive protein intake can create carbamide (also known as urea) which is highly toxic. Urea is also responsible for a form of arthritis known as gout. Regardless of whether you're trying to lose body fat or add a little muscle, if your protein intake is inadequate, you're fighting a losing battle.

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