Protein is another macro nutrient required by the body. Protein is made up of carbon, hydrogen nitrogen, and oxygen. The major structural unit of protein is amino acid. Protein can be classified into two. Protein that contain all the essential amino acids are called first class or complete or animal proteins. The other class of protein is the second class or incomplete or plant protein because they lack one or more of the essential amino acids.

Functions of proteins

  1. It promotes growth.
  2. It repairs worn out tissues.
  3. It serves as source of energy in the absence of carbohydrate and fats.
  4. It builds anti-bodies that fight against infections and diseases.
  5. It builds enzymes to catalyze chemical reactions of the body.
  6. It builds hormones that assist in the regulation of body processes.
  7. It forms the major structural component of the cells.
  8. It is responsible for the transmission of hereditary traits or characteristics from parents to off springs.


The deficiency of protein leads to poor growth and lower resistance to infections. In infants, it leads to kwashiorkor and marasmus.

Food sources of proteins

Protein can be obtained from animals and their products. Such as egg, beans, groundnut, milk, cheese, fish, poultry, soya beans, meat, peas etc.


See also


food and nutrition

Career opportunities available in foods and nutrition


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