Proteins are the body’s workhorses providing structure and many other functions necessary for life. They play an important role in the function of every cell in our bodies.
There are over 100,000 various proteins in the human body that are made of different combinations of 20 amino acids, 9 of which must be acquired through the diet. Proteins are often referred to as the workhorses of the body because they are a vital part of every cell and are essential for the nourishment, renewal, and continuance of life. They are the primary building blocks for bone, skin, hair, muscle, hormones, and antibodies. They give tissues like bones and muscle strength and structure. They are necessary for digesting and processing food. They regulate various bodily processes as hormones. They are important in transporting substances throughout the body and are necessary for the function of the immune system.
These properties of proteins are very important for cancer patients who might be having problems eating and are losing weight and who may experience hair loss as a consequence of some cancer treatments. After surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, extra protein is usually needed to heal tissues and help fight infection. Emphasis on acquiring proteins from plant based foods is highly recommended because of the additional substances in them like antioxidants and phytochemicals that are health promoting, protective against cancer and beneficial for healing. Good sources of protein can be attained by eating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and lean meats including fish and poultry.
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