Your muscles are built from protein and you need ample amount of this vital nutrient to keep you going. Protein can be found in foods that burn fat and speed up your metabolism so it’s good to eat foods that are rich in protein.
Our body needs proteins to keep everything going without a glitch. Every process in our body requires proteins, breaking them down and needing more and more in return. If you don’t consume enough proteins you’re at risk of muscle and joint pain, difficulties shedding weight, slow metabolism, weakened immune system, fatigue, difficulties concentrating and memorizing things, mood swings and changes in your blood sugar levels.
If you experience some of the following 9 symptoms your body lacks protein
- High cholesterol levels
If you have high cholesterol levels you probably have some hormonal imbalance, inflammation or eat too much food high in sugars. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a result of a diet rich in fatty foods. If you avoid protein, but eat plenty of snacks, refined carbs and processed food you might put your liver at risk and increase your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
- Anxiety and mood swings
The neurotransmitters in your brain that control your mood require amino-acids which are synthesized from proteins so if you lack proteins you’re likely experiencing mood swings. Proteins are also a vital part of the brain synthesis of the happy and calm hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
- You exercise but to no result
If you want to build lean muscle your body requires protein. Proteins are also essential in maintaining your energy levels and giving you more strength for strenuous workout. If you’re on a diet low in protein, you’ll be more tired and even if you exercise harder you won’t have any results.
- Sleep problems
If you have difficulties sleeping your blood sugar levels are probably low, the serotonin production decreased and the cortisol levels increased. If you have blood sugar swings during the day they will go on late into the night. If you eat some protein before you go to bed you will increase your serotonin and tryptophan levels and will be able to fall asleep easier.
- Brain fog
Your brain needs proteins to carry out all its neurological functions and stay healthy and functional. If you suffer from brain fog, low concentration, lack of motivation and so on you probably have a diet low in protein and need to increase the consumption of this vital nutrient.
- Gasses and impaired bowel function
How much amino-acids you consume is very important for the proper functioning of your digestive system and metabolism. If you often experience fatigue you might be deficient in proteins and this can result in GI tract muscle contractions, impaired digestion and enzyme production.
- Weight gain
Even though proteins might have more calories than carbs, diets rich in protein can make you feel fuller for longer and eliminate the need for overeating or snacking during the day. SO if your diet lacks proteins but is full of carbs and sugars you might be eating less calories but you will eat more in quantity, leading to weight gain.
- Irregular menstrual cycle
The most common symptoms of PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) are irregular periods and infertility. PCOS is most commonly caused by pre-diabetes and obesity, as well as insulin resistance which is present in 70% of women diagnosed with PCOS. Insulin resistance, on the other hand, is most likely caused by diet low in protein but high in sugars and carbs. All of this can affect your menstrual cycle and cause irregularities.
- Frequent injuries and slow healing time
If you’re protein deficient you have an increased risk of falling, your bones and wounds will heal slower, you’ll build muscle slower as well and you risk developing osteoporosis and have weaker fragile bones.
What is the required amount of protein?
The amount of protein the body needs varies from person to person and is gender, age, weight and activity dependant. Experts say that the average man requires 56grams of protein a day, while the average woman needs 46 grams daily. These numbers may vary if a person is pregnant, ill or very active.
Best protein sources
Since vegetarians can’t eat their diet must be rich in legumes and beans such as mung beans and lentils; nuts and seeds like chia, flax, almonds and hemp; unprocessed grains such as quinoa, oat, and buckwheat.
If you want to increase your protein intake you should also include more broccoli, kale, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and spinach in your diet, since they abound in it.
When it comes to meats, it’s best to focus on organic turkey and chicken, wild-caught salmon, and grass-fed beef.