Protein is an important nutrient for the human body, which has a variety of benefits for the body, including the use of this protein as a fuel source that provides energy density as much as carbohydrates: 4 kcal (17 kJ) per gram; in contrast, lipids produce 9 kcal (37 kJ) per gram. The most important aspect and characteristic of proteins from a nutritional point of view is the composition of amino acids.
During human digestion, proteins are broken down in the stomach into smaller polypeptide chains through hydrochloric acid and the action of proteases. This is important for the absorption of essential amino acids that cannot be synthesized by the body. Protein can be obtained from herbs called vegetable protein, such as tempeh, tofu, legumes. Can also be obtained from animals called animal protein, such as eggs, chicken meat, milk.
table of contents
- Vegetable and Animal Protein
- Examples of Vegetable Proteins
- Tofu, tempeh, and edamame
- Chia seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Vegetables rich in protein
- Wheat bread
- Examples of Animal Proteins
- Fresh fish
- Pure Milk
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Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance. Apart from water, protein is the most abundant type of molecule in the body. Protein can be found in all cells of the body and is a major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscles.
This also includes organs, hair and skin. Proteins are also used in membranes, such as glycoproteins. When broken down into amino acids, they are used as precursors for nucleic acids, co-enzymes, hormones, immune responses, cell repair, and other molecules that are essential for life. In addition, protein is needed to form blood cells.
Definition of Protein
Proteins are polymer chains made of amino acids that are linked together by peptide bonds. There are nine essential amino acids that humans must obtain from their food to prevent protein-energy malnutrition and cause death.
The nine amino acids include phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine. There is debate as to whether there are 8 or 9 essential amino acids. Consensus seems to be leaning towards 9 because histidine is not synthesized in adults.
There are five amino acids that humans can synthesize in the body, namely;
- Aspartic acid
- Glutamic Acid
There are six conditional essential amino acids whose synthesis can be limited under special pathophysiological conditions, such as prematurity in infants or individuals under severe catabolic pressure. The six are arginine, cysteine, glycine, glutamine, proline, and tyrosine.
Understanding Protein According to Experts
The definition of protein according to experts, among others:
Protein is a very complex substance that exists in all living organisms. Protein has excellent nutritional value and is directly involved in chemical processes that are essential for life.
The importance of protein was recognized by chemists in the early 19th century, including Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius, who in 1838 coined the term protein, a word derived from Greek words, meaning “to hold first place .”
Vegetable and Animal Protein
Vegetable and animal protein are macronutrients that are important for building muscle mass. The content of this protein is generally found in animal products, although it also exists in other sources, such as nuts and beans called vegetable protein.
Examples of Vegetable Proteins
The following are examples of foods that contain vegetable protein, including the following:
1. Tofu, tempeh, and edamame
Soy products such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame are one of the richest sources of protein in plant foods. The protein content varies according to how soy is served, for example:
Tofu (soybean curd) contains about 10 g of protein per ½ cup; Edamame beans (immature soybeans) contain 8.5 g of protein per ½ cup; Tempe contains about 15 g of protein per ½ cup.
People can try tofu, instead of meat, in a sandwich or soup. Tofu is also a popular substitute for meat in some dishes, such as chicken kung pao and sweet and sour chicken. This soy product also contains good levels of calcium and iron, which makes it a healthy substitute for dairy products.
Red or green lentils contain lots of protein, fiber, and essential nutrients, including iron and potassium. Cooked lentils contain 8.84 g of protein per ½ cup. Lentils are a good source of protein to add to lunch or dinner routines, which can be added to stews, curries, salads, or rice to provide additional protein portions.
Cooked beans contain high protein, containing about 7.25 g per ½ cup. Beans can be eaten hot or cold, and are very flexible with many recipes. Beans can, for example, be added to stews and curries, or seasoned with paprika and roasted in the oven.
Nuts are rich in protein, full of healthy fats, and can improve heart health. The protein content in about 20.5 g of protein per ½ cup. Peanut butter is also rich in protein, with 8 g per tablespoon, making a peanut butter sandwich into a healthy, complete protein snack.
Almonds offer 16.5 g of protein per ½ cup. It also contains good amounts of vitamin E, which is very good for the skin and eyes.
Spirulina is a blue or green algae that contains about 8 g of protein per 2 tablespoons. It’s also rich in nutrients, such as iron, vitamin B – although not vitamin B-12 – and manganese.
Spirulina can be as a powder or supplement that can be added to water, smoothies, or fruit juices. One can also sprinkle it on salads or snacks to increase its protein content.
Quinoa is whole grains with a high protein content, and is a complete protein. Cooked quinoa contains 8 g of protein per cup. These grains are also rich in other nutrients, including magnesium, iron, fiber, and manganese.
Grains are also very versatile. Quinoa can fill pasta and soup. Can be sprinkled on salads or eaten as a main dish.
8. Chia seeds
Chia seeds are a source of complete protein that can be used to make smoothies, yogurt, and puddings. Chia seeds are a low-calorie diet rich in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids that nourish the heart. Chia seeds are a complete source of protein which contains 2 g of protein per tablespoon.
Like chia seeds, flaxseeds are a complete source of protein. Flaxseed offers 5 g of protein per tablespoon. They can be used in a manner similar to chia seeds.
10. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds, or pepitas, are seeds that are rich in protein. 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds contains 9 g of protein. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which supports the immune system, and magnesium, a mineral that helps maintain heart health.
Large roasted potatoes offer 8 g of protein per serving. Potatoes are also rich in other nutrients, such as potassium and vitamin C.
12. Vegetables rich in protein
Many vegetables and dark green vegetables contain protein. If eaten alone without the addition of other foods, these foods are not enough to meet daily protein needs, but some plant-based snacks can increase protein intake, especially when combined with other protein-rich foods.
For example one broccoli stalk contains about 4 g of protein; kale offers 2 g of protein per cup; 5 medium-sized mushrooms offer 3 g of protein.
Seitan is a complete protein made from a mixture of wheat gluten and various spices. High grain content means that it must be avoided by people with celiac or gluten intolerance. For others, it can be a substitute for healthy meat rich in protein.
When cooked in soy sauce, which is rich in lysine amino acids, seitan becomes a source of complete protein that offers 21 g per 1/3 cup.
14. Wheat bread
Most of us do not consider bread as a source of protein, but actually have some. Some whole wheat bread has 3 to 5 grams per slice – and making a sandwich with whole wheat bread we will get 8 grams of protein (and that doesn’t include one of the contents in it).
Examples of Animal Proteins
The following are examples of foods that contain animal protein, including:
Eggs are a source of complete protein. In one small 70 calorie package, we can get 6 grams of protein and essential nutrients, such as choline and eye protection antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
16. Fresh fish
Fish is a high protein food. Some types of fish, such as Gindara, have very low fat content. Other fish such as salmon and tuna have a high fat content, which is good fats such as Omega 3.
Shrimp have high calcium and protein content, and are included in the category of animal protein sources. Amino acid levels in shrimp cause protein values in shrimp are categorized as complete protein .
18. Pure Milk
The amount of protein in whole milk is not too big, but the quality of the protein provided to the body is amazing. Protein in milk contains all the essential amino acids needed by the body.
This type of fish turned out to be rich in protein. Despite its small size, it turns out that its protein content reaches 10%. Besides protein, you can also get calcium from anchovy consumption.
Cheese is a dairy product that has hundreds of different textures and flavors. The nutrition and taste of cheese depends on how it is produced and what milk is used. Some people worry that cheese is high in fat, sodium, and calories. However, cheese is also a source of protein, calcium, and several other nutrients.
For example Mozzarella cheese weighing 1 ounce (28 grams) contains 6 grams of protin; Cottage cheese is a soft white cheese made from cow’s milk curd containing far higher protein than other cheeses. In 1/2-cup (110 grams) cottage cheese contains 12 g of protein.