What are proteins?
Protein is the primary structural and functional components of every living cell. Almost half the protein in our body is in the form muscles and rest of it is bone, cartilage, and skin. Proteins are complex molecules composed of different amino acids. Certain amino acids have been termed as “essential” since they are not synthesized in the human body and have to be obtained from proteins in the diet. Other non-essential amino acids can be synthesized in the human body to build proteins. Proteins perform a wide range of functions and also provide energy (4 kcal/g). Animal foods like milk, meat, fish, and eggs and plant foods such as legumes are a rich source of proteins. Animal proteins are of high quality as they provide all the essential amino acids in right proportions. Plant or vegetable proteins are not of the same quality because of their low content of some of the essential amino acids. However, a combination of cereals, millets, and pulses provides most of the amino acids, which complement each other to provide the better quality of proteins.