7 Signs you’re not getting enough protein
Protein is the building block of all your muscles. It is found in the foods that are going to boost your metabolism and your fat burning potential. Nothing is more important for your body than protein as it is what gives us our energy, it helps our bodies recover and keeps our hunger at bay. Protein is composed of long-chain amino acids and supports the building of healthy tissues and cells. Your body itself produces 11 amino acids and the other 9 essential amino acids you must consume from your food.
So how do you know if you are protein deficient?
Below are some of the symptoms caused by inadequate consumption of protein but do keep in mind that as with any nutrient deficiency, symptoms can have other known causes, so this is a general list and not to be used to self-diagnose:
- Joint and Muscle Pain
Feeling pain or weakness in your muscle or being flabby where you once had muscle may be a sign of joint fluid or muscles breaking down in order to supplement calories instead of using the protein you should be eating in order to build muscles, tissues and cells.
- Hair, skin and nail problems
Hair thinning or falling out, peeling skin and nails or nails breaking easily can all be signs of not having enough protein in your diet.
- Food cravings
- Brain Fog
Lack of protein can result in poor concentration and low mental energy.
- Poor Immunity
Our immune cells are created from protein, lack of protein will then result in poor health and frequent sicknesses.
- Bad sleeping patterns
Poor sleep and insomnia are linked to unstable blood sugar levels. Blood sugar swings during the day can carry over into the night. Try eating protein as your last meal to help balance the sugar and feel rewarded with a good nights rest.
- Mood swings
Feelings of anxiety and bad form can be due to lack of protein as amino acids are also the building blocks for the neurotransmitters which control your mood. Protein helps the brain synthesize hormones like serotonin and dopamine which are your “happy hormones” leaving you feeling calmer and more positive.
So how much protein should I eat?
The right amount of protein depends on many factors, these include age, muscle mass, current state of health and of course activity levels. The average person needs to consume a minimum of 0.36g of protein per pound of weight – so for example, a person weighing 150lb would need an average of 55g of protein per day.
If you are eating a diet with a good variety of whole foods then it is pretty difficult to become protein deficient, however, if you are not eating enough calories or following an unhealthy diet then you will certainly feel the consequences.
What should I do if I feel I am lacking in protein?
It is so important to follow a healthy balanced diet. If your diet is consisting of processed foods with lots of sugar and carbs then you need to start eliminating the bad and replacing with good. Introduce whole foods like fish, meat, chicken, dairy and eggs. Also choose wholegrains, fruit and plenty of fruit and vegetables.
If you are a vegan then you can find great protein in lentils, beans, nuts, seeds and of course vegetables.
If you find it hard to ‘eat’ your protein then you can help supplement your diet with protein shakes. Luckily protein is available in many forms, raw and cooked so there should be no excuse not to get enough of it into your diet!