Take away the water, and about 75% of your weight is protein. Surprised? At least 10,000 proteins make you what you are and keep you that way. 20 or so building blocks called amino acids provide the raw materials for all proteins. Because the body does store amino acids, the body continually requires these from the diet to make new protein.
Protein is found throughout the body. It is found in muscles, bone, skin, hair and virtually every other tissue in the body. It is required for the formation of hormones which control growth, sexual function and body metabolism. It makes up for the enzymes necessary for basic life functions and antibodies which fight diseases. The average adult requires a 9 g of protein for every 9 kg of body weight. Around the world, Nigeria highly inclusive, millions of people don’t get enough protein. Protein malnutrition leads to the condition known as kwashiorkor. It is a severe disease in children and still forms one of the major conditions grappled with in paediatric care in this country. Protein containing all the amino acids needed to construct new proteins is called complete protein. Animal sources of protein tend to be complete. Other protein sources lacking one or more amino acids that the body cannot synthesise are called incomplete proteins. These come from fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.