Protein is the building block for all parts of your body: your cells, hair, nails, muscles, etc.
Protein is a source of calories (4 calories per gram). As with all foods, if you eat more protein than you need, the extra will be stored as fat.
The power of protein is easy to achieve. Obviously, with the great availability of animal foods and nutritious grains and vegetables, most of us have little trouble meeting our protein needs, however quality and quantity has made this task more complex.
- Produce enzymes that allow for natural biochemical reactions, assist in creating and releasing hormones, and other substances the body uses every minute.
- Regulates body processes, such as water balancing, transporting nutrients, and muscle contraction. This doesn’t mean lifting weights, it means simply getting up from the couch and walking. (but it also means lifting weights)
- Resists disease and prevents fatigue. Protein makes the antibodies that protect you from disease-carrying bacteria and viruses.
- Control your body’s pH. (The acidic and alkaline properties) Normal processes of the body continually produce acids and bases. The protein in your blood is the only mode of transportation these molecules can use to get to their appropriate excretion organs, otherwise the blood’s pH would be compromised. This truly is a remarkable system!
Protein is crushed and mixed with saliva in the mouth then begins to uncoil its tangled strands in the stomach. Enzymes along with acid continue to separate and break down protein bonds, until finally the small intestine breaks down what is left into free amino acids. After this, these free amino acids are released into the bloodstream.(They are called free because of their innate ability to combine with other amino acids to form specific proteins.)Once the amino acids are circulating in the blood stream they are available to be taken up by any cell of the body.
Many of the jobs that proteins fulfill for the body are protein specific meaning fats and carbohydrates cannot do them.
However if necessary, protein can and will do jobs beyond its normal profile. This comes as a great sacrifice to your overall nutrition, sensibility, and consequently health. If you restrict your caloric intake from fat or carbs, protein will provide the body with energy.
The body’s top-priority will always be energy.
You do not want to have Protein as your energy source because you cannot store protein the way you do carbohydrates. For this reason alone, it is critical that you eat protein every day. If not, your body won’t have enough amino acids to repair and replace damaged cells i.e. muscles, eventually leading to a complete breakdown of functionality.