True or False?
Gelatin is an excellent source of protein and keeps your fingernails hard.
(Find the answer at the end of this article.)
Protein is a nutrient your body needs daily. Protein helps to build and repair body tissues such as your skin, muscles, organs, and even bones. It also forms enzymes and hormones that enable your body to function normally. In the form of antibodies, protein protects you from disease-carrying bacteria and viruses, and it's also a source of calories, providing 4 calories per gram. As with all foods, if you eat more protein than you need, the extra will be stored as fat.
The many different kinds of proteins in your body are all made up of building blocks called amino acids. The body connects these building blocks to form the specific protein that it needs. Nine amino acids are considered essential-- your body cannot make them, so your food choices must supply them. Their names may sound familiar: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
The other amino acids are non-essential-- your body can make them if you consume enough of the nine essential amino acids during the day. Believe it or not, a single cell of your body may contain 10,000 different proteins, each one requiring a different arrangement of amino acids.