Benefits of Protein for the Body and Foods Containing High Protein

There are various functions of protein for the body, ranging from energy sources to forming various enzymes and hormones, to supporting the immune system. Therefore, ensuring that the daily protein needs are properly fulfilled is important.

Just like fat and carbohydrates, protein is a nutrient that the body needs in large quantities. When you eat foods that contain protein, the digestive system will break down the protein into amino acids that are needed in almost all parts of the body.

Some amino acids can be produced by the body, but others can only be obtained from food. Therefore, the body still needs additional protein from the food consumed so that the function of protein in the body can run optimally.

Various Benefits of Protein

The following are the various benefits and functions of protein for the body, namely:

1. As a source of energy

Protein is an important source of energy for the body apart from fats and carbohydrates. Similar to carbohydrates, protein contains 4 calories per gram, while fat supplies more energy, which is 9 calories / gram.

In processing food for energy sources, the body will use carbohydrates and fats first. Meanwhile, protein will be stored as a reserve and used when the body really needs it, for example, when you fast for up to 18–48 hours without food intake.

Long-term protein deficiency can lead to kwashiorkor and protein energy malnutrition.

2. Build and repair body tissue

Proteins are the "bricks" that play a big role in making up almost all parts of our body, such as muscles and bones, heart, lungs, brain, skin and hair. Not only that, protein is also responsible for maintaining and replacing tissue in the body that has been damaged.

Under normal conditions, the amount of protein used to build and repair body tissues will be the same every day. However, there are several conditions that cause the body to need more protein, namely when there is new tissue growth or when more protein breakdown occurs, for example in pregnant women, nursing mothers, or in people who are sick.

3. Forming antibodies

Protein helps the body form immunoglobulins, which are known as antibodies. Antibodies play an important role in fighting bacterial or viral infections. In addition, antibodies also help the body to prevent disease from the same bacteria or virus in the future.

After your body produces antibodies against certain bacteria or viruses, the immune cells in the body will never forget how to reproduce them. So, if later the bacteria or virus attacks again, your body will be able to fight it faster.

4. Forming enzymes and hormones

Enzymes are a type of protein found in cells. Enzymes are responsible for many biochemical reactions that occur in the body, for example, for muscle contraction, destroying toxins, and digesting food.

Apart from enzymes, protein also makes up most of the hormones in the body. Hormones are responsible for sending signals and regulating biological processes between cells, tissues and organs. An example is the insulin hormone which sends signals and regulates the entry of sugar into the body's cells.

In addition to the above functions, there are many other protein functions that are needed by the body, for example balancing the pH and amount of fluid in the blood, storing the body's nutritional reserves, and being a means of transportation for chemical compounds to pass through the bloodstream and enter or leave the body's cells. .

Protein Needs Based on Age

In order for protein to function properly, protein intake must also be adequate. Protein needs in general are 1.2–1.5 grams / kg / day. So if a person's body weight (BB) is 50 kg, he needs about 60-75 grams of protein per day.

But to make it easier, you can follow the age-appropriate protein intake guidelines as follows:
  • Toddlers: 10 grams per day
  • School-age children (6–12 years): 19–34 grams per day
  • Boys: 52 grams per day
  • Teenage women: 46 grams per day
  • Adult men: 56 grams per day
  • Adult women: 46 grams per day

As explained above. Certain conditions can increase protein requirements. In women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, protein intake needs to be increased to 70 grams a day.

Foods that Contain High Protein

1. Eggs

Eggs are one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods because they contain vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants that are useful for eye protection and brain nutrition. Eating egg whites is better because they contain high protein and are pure without fat. One egg contains 6 grams of protein and 78 calories.

2. Almonds

Almonds are one of the most popular types of nuts because they contain important nutrients including fiber, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium. The protein content in almonds is 6 grams per 1 ounce.

3. Chicken breast

Chicken breast is very easy to cook, provided you can cook it properly. The protein content contained in 1 skinless chicken breast is 53 grams and 284 calories.

4. Wheat

Wheat is also one of the healthiest foods because it contains a lot of healthy fiber, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B1 and several other nutrients. The protein content contained in raw wheat is 13 grams and 303 calories.

5. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is a type of cheese that tends to be very low in fat and calories. This cheese contains calcium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin B2 and various other nutrients. A cup of cottage cheese with 2% fat provides 27 grams of protein which is considered high and 194 calories.

6. Yogurt

Yogurt is a food that tastes delicious, has a soft texture, and is high in nutrients. Yogurt weighing 170 grams contains 17 grams of protein which is high and 100 calories.

7. Milk has high protein

Milk is a very nutritious drink, but the problem is that some adults don't like this drink. Milk contains many single nutrients needed by humans because it is full of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin B2. A cup of milk with 1% fat contains 8 grams of protein and 103 calories.

8. Beef

Lean beef has high protein, moreover, it tastes delicious too. 85 ounces of beef cooked with 10% fat contains 22 grams of protein and 184 calories.

9. Tuna

Tuna fish has low fat and calories, so most of it contains high levels of protein. Like other fish, tuna contains nutrients that are rich in omega-3 fats. 1 ounce of una contains 30 grams of protein and 157 calories.

10. Shrimp

Almost all seafood is an excellent source of high protein because it is usually low in fat. Although shrimp is low in calories but loaded with various nutrients such as selenium, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats. 1 ounce of raw shrimp contains 24 grams of protein and 99 calories.

The function of protein for the body is very important to be maintained so that overall body functions can run well too. The trick is to meet daily protein intake. But remember, excessive protein consumption is also not recommended because it can cause side effects.

If you have difficulty meeting your daily protein needs, for example due to an allergy to some foods that contain protein, you can consult about alternative intake to a doctor or nutritionist.

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