~ Health Advice from PMGH – Are you getting enough protein in your diet? Part 2 of 4 ~

Welcome to another Health Update from the Port Moresby General Hospital, this week we are focusing on Protein. Are you meeting your daily protein requirements for optimum health? If you missed part 1 please let us know and we will post it again for you. Alternatively please scroll down on the PMGH FB timeline.

All About Amino Acids –
When you eat foods, which contain protein, the digestive juices in your stomach and intestine go to work. They break down the protein in food into basic units, called amino acids. These amino acids then can be reused to make the proteins your body needs to maintain muscles, bones, blood, and body organs. Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called “micronutrients.” But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein and, therefore, has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply. There are 20 different amino acids that join to form the proteins needed by the body, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Amino Acids Are Used –
The three main ways that the human body uses amino acids include:
Protein Synthesis – New proteins are constantly created. For example, as old, dead cells are sloughed off the skin surface, new ones are pushed up to replace them.
Precursors of Other Compounds – A range of substances are created using amino acids, (for example, the brain chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin and the ‘fight or flight’ chemical adrenalin).
Energy – Although carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source, about 10 percent of energy is obtained from protein.

Remember: Consuming too much protein can lead to health problems. Some people go on high-protein diets for weight loss, but some high-protein diets restrict carbohydrates, which can cause nutrition deficiencies or insufficient fiber intake leading to constipation and other digestive problems. The CDC notes that eating more protein than you need can cause weight gain because it contributes to your overall calorie intake. A balanced diet that meets the protein requirements for adults is the best way to stay trim and healthy.

Tip – Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly and if you have any health concerns, please see your doctor at your local Urban Health Clinic.

We will be posting more health information over the next few days including Parts 3 and 4 of Protein so please check back soon.