ROLE OF PROTEINS IN OUR BODY

proteinThere are three types of nutrients that are essential as energy sources for the human body:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

 

One gram of protein or carbohydrate contains 4 calories, while one gram of fat has 9 calories.

Proteins are large molecules consisting of amino acids which our bodies and the cells in our bodies need to function properly. The human body’s muscles, skin, bones and many other parts contain significant amounts of protein. In fact, protein accounts for 20% of total body weight.

What are Proteins?

The human body is made up of approximately 100 trillion cells – each one has a specific function. Each cell has thousands of different proteins, which together make the cell do its job – the proteins are tiny machines within the cell.

Amino acids and proteins – Proteins are made up of hundreds or thousands of smaller units called amino acids, which are attached to one another in long chains. There are 20 different types of amino acids that can be combined to make a protein.

Imagine there are 20 different types of bricks, and a much larger number of different types of houses which we could name according to the way we combined the bricks (their sequence). The bricks are the amino acids and the houses are the proteins.

These 20 amino acids can be arranged in millions of different ways to create millions of different proteins, each one with a specific function in the body. Amino acids are organic molecules – they are made out of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and sometimes sulphur.

Functions of Proteins

  • Make antibodies for our immune system.
  • Make hormones, which help cells send messages and coordinate bodily activities.
  • Muscle contractions – actin and myosin, two types of proteins, are involved in muscle contraction and movement.
  • Make enzymes. An enzyme facilitates a biochemical reaction.
  • Carry things – hemoglobin, a protein, transports oxygen through the blood.
  • Store things – ferritin is a protein which stores iron in the liver.
  • Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body.

 

How much protein is required?

  • Infants (7 – 12 month) – 11 grams per day
  • Infants (0 – 6 month) – 9.1 grams per day
  • Teenage boys (14 – 18 yr) – 52 grams per day
  • Teenage girls (14 – 18 yr) – up to 46 grams per day
  • Adult men – approximately 56 grams per day
  • Adult women – approximately 46 grams per day
  • Pregnant or lactating (breastfeeding) women – about 71 grams per day

 

Examples:

  • 1 cup of milk has 8 grams of protein
  • A 3-ounce piece of meat has about 21 grams of protein
  • 1 cup of dry beans has about 16 grams of protein
  • An 8-ounce container of yogurt has about 11 grams of protein

 

Health Problems that can be faced in case of Protein Deficiency

  • Growth problems
  • Wasting and shrinkage of muscle tissue
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatty liver
  • Swollen belly
  • Swollen legs
  • Anemia
  • Weaker immune system, leading to a higher susceptibility to infections and diseases

 

Sources of dietary protein

  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish and fish eggs
  • Insects
  • Dairy products – Milk, curd, cheese..
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Soy products
  • Eggs
  • Grains, vegetables and legumes also have protein

 

What are the Types of Proteins?

ProteinProteins are made up of amino acids. Some of these amino acids can’t be made by our bodies, so these are known as essential amino acids. It’s essential that our diet provide these.

In the diet, protein sources are labeled according to how many of the essential amino acids they provide:

  • A complete protein source is one that provides all of the essential amino acids. You may also hear these sources called high quality proteins. Animal-based foods; for example, meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese are considered complete protein sources.
  • An incomplete protein source is one that is low in one or more of the essential amino acids. Complementary proteins are two or more incomplete protein sources that together provide adequate amounts of all the essential amino acids.

 

Top 10 Foods which contain Protein

sources of proteins

  1. 100g Turkey Breast contains 30g protein.Chicken Breast (58g) provides 17g protein. Chicken Leg (69g) provides 18g protein. Chicken Thigh (37g) provides 9g protein.
  2. 100g Fish (Tuna, Salmon, Halibut) contains 26g protein.
  3. 100g Cheese (Non-fat Mozzarella) contains 32g protein. Low-fat Cottage Cheese (contains 5g per 28g), Low-fat Swiss Cheese (contains 8g protein per 28g), Low-fat Cheddar (6g per protein 28g), Parmesan (10g per 28 g), Romano (9g per 28 g).
  4. 100g Pork Loin (Chops) contains 25g protein.
  5. 100g Lean Beef and Veal (Low Fat) contains 36g protein.
  6. 100g Tofu contains 7g protein.
  7. 100g Beans (Mature Soy Beans) contains 17g protein.
  8. 100g Eggs (Especially Egg Whites) contains 13g protein.
  9. 100g Yogurt, Milk, and Soymilk contains 6g protein. 1 cup skim milk (245g) provides 8g protein, 1 cup soymilk (243g) provides 8g protein.

100g Nuts and Seeds (Pumpkin, Squash, and Watermelon Seeds, Peanuts, Almonds) contains 33g protein. Other nuts and seeds high in protein (grams proten per ounce (28g)): Peanuts (7g), Almonds (6g), Pistachios (6g), Sunflower Seeds (6g), Flaxseed (5g), Mixed Nuts (4g).

How to find best oil for cooking…

When it comes to cooking you can heat foods in a gentle and healthy way with stable fats OR your can destroy the health properties of foods in a dangerous way with unstable fats. So what’s the best oil to cook with???

oilsIn India, since time immemorial, the oil you use in your kitchen is largely dependent on where you come from. In Kerala, it’s coconut oil, in Andhra and Rajasthan, it’s sesame oil, in the east and north they use mustard oil and in central India and Gujarat groundnut oil is used. Different cultures eat differently and the type of oil fits beautifully into the food landscape of that region.

But all that changed in the 80’s with the scare of cholesterol and heart disease. Overnight ghee got a bad name and we were told that we should avoid transfats and sunflower oil became popular. That was in the 90’s.  But today it’s an altogether different story. You have new types of oil spilling across the grocery shelves from around the world and each new bottle label brings with it a new health hope.

One of the most important thing to keep in mind is – that oil behaves differently when heated, it changes texture, color, taste as well as it’s nutritional properties. Continue reading

Millets – Precious Meal

millets

What are Millets?

In today’s world, we forget to eat good foods or we do not have knowledge about them. Millet is one of those food which is better and more nutritious than rice and wheat but we all forget about it.

Millet consists of small round seeds with a nutty flavor and provides good amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, and the B vitamins. Typically cheaper than rice, millet is available at most health food stores.

Millets are major food sources in arid and semiarid regions of the world, and feature in the traditional cuisine of many others.  You may recognize it as birdseed, but its not just for the birds!  Millet is a delicious and nutritious grain that can accompany many types of food.

Features of Millets

  • Millets do not demand synthetic fertilizers.
  • Millet are pest free crops.
  • Each of the millets is a storehouse of dozens of nutrients in large quantities. They include major and micro nutrients needed by the human body. Hence they can help people withstand malnutrition.
  • Millets grow under non-irrigated conditions in such low rainfall regimes as between 200 mm and 500 mm. Thus, they can also face the water stress and grow.

Why should we eat Millets?

They are highly nutritious, non-glutinous and not acid forming foods. Hence they are soothing and easy to digest. They are considered to be the least allergenic and most digestible grains available. Compared to rice, especially polished rice, millets release lesser percentage of glucose and over a longer period of time. This lowers the risk of diabetes

Millets are particularly high in minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Finger millet (Ragi) is the richest in calcium content, about 10 times that of rice or wheat. Click here for the nutrient composition of millets as compared to wheat and rice.

Millet should also be included on your list of heart-healthy choices because of its status as a good source of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown in studies to reduce the severity of asthma and to reduce the frequency of migraines. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack, especially in people with atherosclerosis or diabetic heart disease.

A cup of cooked millet provides 19% of the daily value for magnesium.

Other Benefits:

Development and Repair of Body Tissue
Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Prevent Gallstones
Protective against Breast Cancer
Protective against Childhood Asthma
Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women

What kinds of millets are available?

  • Barnyard Millet (Hindi: Jhangora; Tamil: Kuthiravaali; Telugu: Odalu)
  • Finger Millet (Hindi: Mandua; Tamil: Kelvargu; Telugu: Ragulu; Kannada: Ragi; Malayalam: Koovarugu)
  • Foxtail Millet (Hindi: Kangni; Tamil: Tenai; Telugu: Korra; Kannada: Navane; Malayalam: Thina)
  • Kodo Millet (Hindi: Kodra; Tamil: Varagu; Telugu: Arikelu; Kannada: Harka)
  • Little Millet (Hindi: Kutki; Tamil: Samai; Telugu: Sama; Kannada: Same; Malayalam: Chama)
  • Pearl Millet (Hindi: Bajra, Tamil: Kambu, Telugu: Gantilu, Kannada: Sajje)
  • Proso Millet (Hindi: Barri; Tamil: Panivaragu; Telugu: Varigulu; Kannada: Baragu)
  • Sorghum (Hindi: Jowar; Tamil: Cholam; Telugu: Jonna; Kannada: Jola; Malayalam: Cholum)

How to cook millets?

Most millets can be cooked like rice. Millets can replace rice in various dishes such as idli, dosa, payasam/kheer. Millet flour can be used to make rotis.

Insights of Vitamin B-12

vitb12

What is Vitamin B-12?

Vitamin B12, vitamin B12 or vitamin B-12, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood. It is a nutrient that helps in making DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

While most vitamins can be made by a wide variety of plants and specific animals, no plant or animal has been shown capable of producing B12, and the exclusive source of this vitamin appears to be tiny microorganisms like bacteria, yeasts, molds, and algae.

What are the other names of Vitamin B12?

Names for B12 include: cobrynamide, cobinamide, cobamide, cobalamin, hydroxcobalamin, aquocobalamin, nitrotocobalamin, and cyanocobalamin. Each of these designations contains a form of the word “cobalt,” since cobalt is the mineral found in the center of the vitamin.

How Vitamin B12 gets absorbed in our body? Continue reading

Breakfast – The most important meal of the day

breakfast‘BREAKFAST’ itself means breaking the fast of 8-12 hours. The brain & muscles need energy to function after such a long fast. Energy can be driven from the glucose contained in foods. We also get important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and protein.

Consequences of skipping breakfast

1. People who don’t eat breakfast often consume more calories throughout the day and are more likely to be overweight. That’s because someone who skips breakfast is likely to get famished before lunchtime and snack on high-calorie foods or overeat at lunch.
2. Studies show that kids who skip breakfast are tardy and absent from school more often than children who eat breakfast on a regular basis.
3. In the morning, bodies need to refuel for the day ahead after 8-12 hours sleep. The mood and energy can drop by mid morning if even a small morning meal is not eaten.

Benefits of eating breakfast
1. Breakfast is a great way to help control body weight because it keeps them from overeating during other meals.
2. Breakfast provides children and teens with the energy they need for improved:
a. memory, concentration, and productivity
b. attention, creativity, and mood
c. behavior and school performance

3. Breakfast kick starts the body’s metabolism, the process by which the body converts the fuel in food to energy. When metabolism starts, the body starts burning calories.