New Delhi: When it comes to protein, most of us do not know if we get enough of it or not. It’s mostly the carbohydrate and fat that grabs our attention. All our booming attempts to achieve an enviable health begin and end with these two. The key to a fit and healthy body lies in a protein-rich diet.
According to research, 90 out of 100 people have insufficient protein in their diet. Further the vegetarians were found to have a higher protein deficiency as compared to non-vegetarians. In Delhi, huge per cent of people were found protein deficient. Weakness and fatigue are common symptoms of protein deficiency. One also experiences hair fall and may lose muscle mass as well,” says Ritika Samaddar, dietician, Max Healthcare, Saket.
THE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENT
Protein is an essential nutrient required for all the muscle repairs and growth. “Protein is considered as life cure, which means that your body needs it in large amounts every day to function properly. When you eat protein, your body breaks it down into amino acids that are used for several purposes. From hair and nails to muscles and organs, there is protein in every single cell of the body. “These proteins are known as structural proteins because they provide the structure for the body. Without them, you could not walk, run or even stand. In fact, the most abundant protein in the body is collagen, which is present in skin, ligaments, tendons and bones.
The nutrient also plays a vital role in nutrient supply in our body. A specific protein in the red blood cells, hemoglobin, is responsible for carrying oxygen from lungs to cells. Also, hormonal proteins, like insulin and oxytocin, play a crucial role in controlling blood sugar concentration and stimulating contractions during childbirth. “Lack of protein can result in puffy eyes, brittle and easily breakable hair, split ends, dull skin, water retention and cracked nails,” says renowned dermatologist Dr Rashmi Shetty. The protein required for the skin is collagen. 56g of protein per day for a 70kg man and about 48g per day for a 60kg woman is perfect. Ideally, a well-rounded diet should be a combination of carbohydrate (50 per cent), protein (30-35 per cent), fat (10 per cent) and fibre (5 per cent).