Protein is derived from ‘protias’, a Greek word that means ‘the best substance from foodstuff’. It is a complex nutrient that contains hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sometimes sulphur. You should give kids a rich protein diet. But the question here is why do we need food protein? Or in fact, why do we need food?
This article answers your queries so that you can include the protein source in your kid’s diet.
Why do we Need Food?
Before going towards the question why do we need food protein in our food? you should know why do we need food? The answer is simple, food gives the human body energy to perform the day to day activities. Some of these activities happen outside the body like bathing, running, walking, jumping, drinking, eating, etc., others happen inside the body like respiration, digestion, blood circulation, excretion, transmission, etc.
Energy is required in both cases. Food works as a fuel that burns in the presence of oxygen, that we inhale, and gives out carbon dioxide and energy. Carbon dioxide goes out in the process of exhalation and the energy produced is used by cells to perform various life activities.
Our food contains various nutrients. These nutrients are further divided into Macro and Micronutrients. Protein along with carbohydrate, fat, and water is a part of macro nutrients. All these nutrients play an equal role in the development of the human body. However, their purposes are different. For example, carbohydrate works as an energy store while fats cushion the sensitive organs of our body. Protein plays a crucial role especially for kids, why? The next section deals with it.
Why do we Need Food Protein in our Food?
Proteins are complex molecules. The human body cannot digest it directly. When protein goes into our body, various digestive juices like pepsin and trypsin break it down into simpler amino acids. There are almost 23 amino acids, nine of which should be present in the diet.
So why do we need food protein? The answer is because the human body requires amino acids for various purposes. Protoplasm, the base of all living cells, is formed by protein. If you remove all the water content from the body, a maximum amount of protein will be left in the body. Tissues contain a relatively higher amount of protein than the rest of the body. However, it is also found in the secretion of endocrine glands, teeth, blood, and bones. Kids need to include protein sources in their diet. Some of the reasons behind it are:
1. Protein Elevates Muscle Growth
You might notice athletes or bodybuilders drink protein shakes after a heavy workout. This is because proteins are the building block of cells. If you want your kids to have strong muscles, a protein-rich diet is compulsory. It is the most vital nutrient for muscle growth. It helps in repairing, maintaining, and building muscles.
2. It Promotes Cell Growth
As you know, protoplasm is made of protein. Thus, cell development depends a lot on proteins. It maintains the generation and regeneration of cells in the human body. It is also responsible for healing wounds, blood replenishment, and the growth of nails.
3. It Gives a Healthy Hair
Have you noticed the shampoo advertisements claiming their product has proteins? Have you ever thought about why shampoos contain protein? This is because proteins are extremely vital for hair growth. Thus, to give your kid healthy hair, include protein in their diet.
4. Protein Boosts the Metabolism
The human body works in a well-designed format. It follows the in-built protocols. In this process, they require hormones and enzymes. For example, the enzyme lipase is an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of fat into free fatty acids and glycerol.
Proteins are a significant part of these enzymes and hormones. Thus, it ensures the smooth functioning of various mechanisms.
5. Protein Makes Immune System Strong
Before understanding the role of protein in the immune system, you should know what the immune system does. The immune system is a mechanism present in the human body that recognizes, warns, and takes actions against a foreign virus, bacteria, etc introduced in the body. A weak immune system brings lots of diseases.
Protein acts as antibodies. It fights the unwanted bacterias and viruses in the human body, keeping your kid safe and healthy.
6. Protein Contributes in Hemoglobin Formation
You might know about haemoglobin. It is made of iron and helps in the circulation of oxygen in the body. It is also the pigment that gives blood its red colour. Lack of haemoglobin means the body fails to circulate the oxygen in various cells causing organ failure if ignored for a long time.
Most people only consider iron as a vital mineral for haemoglobin but protein also plays a role in it. It helps in the formation of haemoglobin.
In simple words, you can say that protein is responsible for the physical growth of the body. But how you can give your kids protein sources is still a question. The next section deals with it.
Now you know why do we need food protein in our food? You should also know about its sources and ways to include it in a kid’s diet.
You can divide protein sources into two parts:
1. Animal Protein
The protein extracted from animal food is animal proteins. Some of the sources of animal protein are milk, cheese, chicken, egg, meat, and fish. Among them, eggs are rich protein sources as they contain an abundance of amino acids.
2. Plant Protein
The protein extracted from plant food is a plant protein. Some examples of plant protein are beans and pulses, mustard, soybean, nuts, green peas, dry fruits, groundnuts, and food grain. Among them, pulses are the richest source of protein.
You might feel difficulty in giving your kids these protein sources. It happens because kids are selective in their diet. They prefer taste over health. Here is how you can fulfil your aim ( of giving them protein )and their wants (eating tasty).
- Their breakfast should include things that are tastier and healthy. You can make paneer paratha, Moong dal ka chilla (stuffed with cheese, paneer, and veggies ), Aloo Paratha with Curd, etc.
- The best way to give kids veggies is to stuff it between buns. You can also add pieces of chicken or paneer to it. Make it exciting by adding your kids’ favourite sauce.
- You can also make a pizza using veggies, corn, paneer, or meat pieces. Make its base using flour to reduce the use of fine flour.
These are some of the ways to give protein sources to kids.
Proteins are vital but within a particular limit. An abundance of protein, especially animal protein, can cause various issues like osteoporosis, heart diseases, kidney stones, and strokes. The human body only requires 0.36 gm per pound of your body weight. Its deficiency in kids causes kwashiorkor and Marasmus diseases.