Proteins are found in every body part or tissue, they are the building block of muscles and they are very helpful for boosting the metabolism thus losing weight. Proteins are extremely important for the body because they are the fuel that supports every cell and tissue in your body.
In order to keep your body running smoothly you need to consume proteins every day. As we previously mentioned, almost every part of your body uses protein to function properly, which means this nutrient is constantly being broken and needs to be replaced regularly.
Being deficient in protein can cause health issues such as: inability to lose weight, sluggish metabolism, low energy and fatigue, muscle, bone and joint pain, trouble learning and concentrating, low immune system, slow wound healing, blood sugar changes and mood swings.
9 Signs that you need more protein
1. High cholesterol
Fatty foods are not the only cause of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Other causes also include high sugar diets, increased inflammation as well as hormonal imbalance. If you consume sugary snacks instead of protein foods, you increase your risk of high cholesterol and impaired liver function.
2. Feeling anxious and moody
Amino acids are the monomers that make up proteins. They are the building blocks of the neurotransmitters which control your mood. Proteins promote the release of hormones that provide a feeling of positivity and excitements such as serotonin and dopamine.
3. Inability to exercise
Since protein is responsible for building new muscle mass and providing you with energy, lack of this nutrient can cause fat gain, muscle wasting and fatigue. You can exercise as much as you want, but if you lack protein you will not get the desired results.
4. Sleep disorders
The most common cause of poor sleep and insomnia are unstable blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates need more insulin than protein which is why you should eat protein-rich foods before going to bed to avoid blood sugar swings during the night.
5. Brain fog
Since proteins aid the release of beneficial neurotransmitters in the brain, the lack of this nutrient can cause brain fog, poor concentration and lack of motivation. It has even been scientifically proven that you can improve your learning and motor skills as well as work performance by getting enough protein from your diet.
6. Excessive gas and constipation
Amino acids are also very important for the proper function of the digestive system and the metabolism. Protein deficiency can also cause fatigue of the muscles in the GI tract which affects the digestion and enzyme production.
7. Weight gain
High-protein diets provide a longer feeling of satiety than carbs which will prevent you from overeating and snacking too often. Protein also doesn’t affect the blood sugar levels and it will help you retain more muscle and even reduce food craving.
8. Irregular menstrual cycle
The most common symptoms of poly-cystic ovary syndrome are irregular periods and infertility. The major key factors for this condition are pre-diabetes and obesity. Eating a diet that is high in sugar and carbs but low in protein can make your body insulin resistant which causes inflammation, weight gain and fatigue thus affect the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.
9. Proneness to injury and slow healing wounds
Protein deficiency can make you less energetic. This can result in increased risk of falling, bone weakness, muscle loss, slow bone healing, osteoporosis and fractures, because protein is needed for bone metabolism and calcium absorption.
How much protein do I need?
The amount of protein you need daily depends on your age, gender, body weight and level of activity. The recommended daily protein intake for adults with average weight and level of activity is 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women.
However, if you are very active, ill or pregnant you might need higher amounts of protein.
The best protein-rich foods
Meat: wild-caught salmon, organic chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef.
Vegetables: mung beans, lentils, hemp, flax chia and almond seeds, quinoa, buckwheat, sprouted nuts and grains, mushrooms, kale, broccoli, spinach and Brussel sprouts.
Health benefits of protein
Besides promoting muscle recovery, fat burning and healing of wounds, proteins are also very helpful in:
- fighting diabetes by balancing blood sugar levels
- depression and other mental issues
- regulating cholesterol levels
- improving brain function