Protein: Of First Importance

The Protein Food Group

Protein: Of First Importance

All parts of the body depend in some way on protein for survival. In fact, the word protein was coined by a Dutch chemist in 1839 and means “of first importance“. Here’s an example of its importance in our bodies:

  • It is ninety eight percent of our hair and skin.

    Protein Food Group
    Protein Food Group
  • Heart, kidneys and eyes are composed of protein.
  • Enzymes are made up of protein.
  • Hormones and genes are protein.
  • Antibodies, which are the protection against diseases and infections, are proteins.

Major Functions:

  • Builds muscle tissues.
  • Maintains fluid balance.
  • Functions as an energy nutrient.
  • Provides amino acids needed for body’s growth and maintenance.

Deficiency Can Cause:

  • Kidney disease.
  • Lack of resistance to infection.
  • Irritability.
  • Fatigue.
  • Poor wound healing.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Nerve instability.
  • Weakness.
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Poor circulation.
  • Weak vision.

You need a daily supply maintain your level of efficiency. Protein can not be stored in your body for a long time. When the supply is depleted, the body is then forced to feed upon itself, which cause tissue and muscle to breakdown.

You don’t want to go overboard, either. The kidneys are responsible for clearing the body of waste products produced by protein metabolism. Eating large amounts places a strain on the kidneys, which may lead to long-term consequences.

Food Sources

Name Amount Grams
Halibut 3 ounces 22.7
Salmon 3 ounces 21.6
Shrimp 3 ounces 17.3
Cottage Cheese 1/2 cup 20
American or Swiss Cheese 2 slices 10-12
Yogurt, lowfat 1 cup 11.9
Tofu 1/2 cup 11
Milk, any 1 cup 8
Egg 1 medium 6

Clark, Linda A. Know Your Nutrition. Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc.
Editors of Prevention Magazine. The Complete Book of Vitamins and Minerals. Pennsylvania: Rodale Press
The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals. New York: HarperPerennial

Author: Jeni

Certified by the Professional School of Fitness and Nutrition in March, 1995; honored for exemplary grades. Practicing fitness and nutrition for over 20 years. Featured in the Feb. 1994 issue of "Shape" magazine. Featured in Collage in the spring issue of 1995 Low fat recipe's published in Taste of Home, Quick Cooking, and the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, among others. September, 2001: Featured in "Winning The War on Cholesterol" By Rodale Publishing