We’re talking about proteins in Abecedario de la Nutrición in “El Bisturí”, with Laura González, who explains why eating them is necessary. She defines them and mentions how they contribute to mitigate tiredness.
Proteins in a diet
Proteins are commonly known for maintaining body tissue like muscles. When we get to a certain age muscles play a very important role regarding tiredness or fatigue in adults. Proteins play a key role since they’re the second most abundant component after water. It’s important to know their benefits and function in order to appropriately incorporate them into our diets. Laura González, head of health and nutrition at Nestlé, explains all this to us in “El Bisturí.”
Do we really know what they are?
“Proteins” are something we’re usually familiar with even though we don’t know what they are or what they’re composed of.
Proteins are macromolecules formed by a sequence of smaller molecules called amino acids. There are in total 22 types of amino acids that make up proteins. But our organism naturally creates only 13 of them. The remaining nine must be ingested through food because our organisms can’t produce them.
Therefore, these ones are called essential amino acids. Having said this, we must point out that proteins aren’t all the same.
Where can we find quality proteins?
We can find quality proteins in meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Likewise, some plant-based foods such as leguminous plants, dried fruits or cereals also have proteins. Nevertheless, the biological value of these proteins is inferior to animal-based proteins, as we’ve mentioned in several shows. We usually combine them together.
For example, we combine leguminous plants with cereals since we can obtain proteins of similar quality to that of animal-based proteins. Consuming high-quality proteins that contain these essential amino acids is important to maintain our muscles, along with an active lifestyle and a balanced diet.
Function and benefits of proteins
Proteins are the second component, in volume, in the human body. We’re talking about roughly 18%, only after water. Water accounts roughly for 60% of the body volume. Proteins are commonly known for maintaining body tissue like muscles. However, they also perform other important functions such as the formation of structures, or the collagen in our skin; they also work as neuro transmitters.
In addition, proteins are essential for nervous connections and they are indispensable for the right function of the immune system and the contraction of muscles. Proteins not only nurture the muscles, they also contribute to the good condition of the organism in a much fuller way. In fact, experts advise that proteins should constitute between 10% and 15% of the energy intake in our diets.
Taking into account that the organism is formed by more than 600 muscles that give us life and ensure that the body responds to our impulses, keeping them healthy is essential; and in order to do so, proteins play a critical role.
In addition to the voluntary movements that we can control such as jumping, running or swimming, there are other muscles that perform movements that we aren’t fully aware of but that really help organs function correctly. These muscles are, for example, the ones that allow the gut to regulate the bowel movements, or the ones that intervene so that the uterus contracts during birth, or something so simple and fundamental as the heart beat. In summary, proteins nurture the muscles and contribute to the good condition of the organism.
The importance of working out to improve muscular mass
Doing moderate physical exercise combined with supplementation of proteins or amino acids in our diet has a very positive impact in our health and represents an effective strategy in many aspects. It improves strength and muscular mass, increases the retention and absorption of calcium improving bone metabolism, it also accelerates tissue regeneration after an injury and protects muscles from aging, among many other things.
Date: October 10th, 2018
By: Ángela Arrizabalaga
Nutrigenomics Institute is not responsible for the comments and opinions included in this article