Now, I’m sure you all heard of protein. That nutrient that “makes your bones stronger?” I’m sure you heard your parents say that to you,when you were younger, to convince you to drink milk. But, what exactly is protein? Protein is a macronutrient that is key to build muscle mass. It is most commonly found in animal products. When talking chemically, protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur. Protein is used to build and repair your tissues. Protein is also used to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. As you can tell by that brief description, protein does a lot of work, it is like one of the building blocks of your body. But now, let’s get in-depth into more of its uses.
First, let’s talk about growth. Protein is especially important during your younger years. An insufficient amount of protein during your growing years can result in insufficient growth, and let’s be honest, no one wants that. But how does it affect your growth? Well, every single one of your cells and tissue single your body contain protein, so it is important for the growth, repair, and the maintenance of good health. Protein is the second most abundant compound in the human body, only being beaten by water. Not only is it necessary for younger kids to consume more of this compound in order to grow, but also in order to survive. Studies have shown that more than a third of deaths under the age of 5 is in someway linked to a lack of nutrition. Even after all the importance of protein for young kids I mentioned above, students still show that one in seven school-aged children do not meet the daily intake of protein recommended. Protein is made of 20 amino acids, yet our body can only produce 11 of them naturally, the rest must come from nutrients like protein, in order for your body to function and grow “normally.” With all of this, you can probably tell protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to growth of the youngsters.
Now, let’s talk about the immune system in our bodies. The powerhouses of the immune system such as antibodies, and your immune system cells rely on protein to not only function, but protein is also the building block for them. A lack of protein can lead to weakness, fatigue, apathy, and poor immunity. Without any protein at all, the immune system would not be able to operate. A weakened immune system can result in a mortality dh rate for diseases and viruses, which ironically is needed, because as of the time writing this, the coronavirus pandemic is going on. A weaker immune system not only means a higher mortality rate, but it can also lead to stressing a lot more than normal. Your wounds will take longer than normal to heal up. You will also get much more frequent infections in your body. On top of all of that, a weakened immune system will also cause you to be tired, thus you will feel very sleepy. Think about it, all of this happens because you chose not to take the protein your body needs and deserves.
Thirdly, protein can also be used as a source of energy for your body. While being good at many things, protein can also provide a decent source of energy. With four calories per gram, it gives an equivalent amount of energy as carbs. This valuable nutrient is mainly used for other reasons by your body, but at an extreme instant where your body is not receiving enough energy, all the proteins you have been eating will be a good way to get in some extra energy for your body, so your body will consume the proteins as energy. However it is not recommended to use protein as your main energy source, as protein is so valuable for many reasons, you should not be wasting it on energy, but if you need to, it is there.
All in all, protein is a very valuable nutrient for your body. Being required to recover and grow properly, your body thoroughly values the nutrient. Your brain also values it, as the immune system requires the amino acids, which are found in protein, to run and function. It can also be there as a last chance energy source, if your body requires it. There are so many uses of protein for your body that I was not even able to cover them all. These were just a couple uses of this very valuable nutrient