With the pandemic era, consumption of a well-balanced diet can be the right key to good health and a better immune system. More than 42% of the global population is found to be at a risk of protein deficiency. These alarming statistics show just how important proteins are in the human diet.
What are proteins? Proteins are nutrients 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. There is a large connection between the type of proteins consumed, and the type of proteins that exist in our bodies. This is because almost all our cells, tissues and organs are made up of protein cellular units.
The immune system is the first line of defense against any harmful bacteria, virus, and any foreign substance. The cells of the immune system rely on proteins for repairs. Hence, it is important to consume more proteins to build up the immunological system.
Proteins also play a role in synthesizing red blood cells and haemoglobin, which is vital for immune functions. Haemoglobin is needed to carry oxygen and if there are too few or abnormal red blood cells, or not enough haemoglobin, there will be a decreased capacity of the blood to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. So, a protein diet is essential for better immunity.
There are mainly two types of proteins – complete and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins consist of all the essential and non-essential amino acids, which are up to twenty-one globally.
Incomplete proteins are proteins that do not contain all essential amino acids. Most plant foods are incomplete proteins, including fibers, nuts, and grains. The best sources of proteins come from soyabeans, millets, milk products, pulses, and sprouts. Eggs, chicken, fish, meat and seafood are also good sources of protein. Blue Print, Pg. 18.