Protein is hailed as the building block of the body, the mainstay of your health and an essential nutrient for your muscles. But its function is not limited to your muscles. It is required for a lot of other functions too. From counting macros to following the keto diet, there is always a discussion about how much protein your body needs. It is natural because protein affects your muscle health, bone, joint, and metabolic health. It is also good for the brain and your immunity. In fact, protein is also good for your skin. That’s right, it has been the talk of the town in the beauty industry as protein deficiency can also lead to skin problems.
Did you know your skin, hair, and nails are made of protein, which is made up of amino acids? Protein plays a role in building bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and every part and tissue of the body. So, it is important to eat a protein-rich diet for your skin, hair, and nails. The amino acids enter your body from your diet. These are like raw materials for making proteins which your body needs.
According to the National Library of Medicine, skin, hair, and nails are made of several proteins, including keratin, collagen, and elastin. An adequate amount of protein as part of a healthy diet is essential to support the body’s ability to synthesize all types of proteins, including your skin.
Adequate amounts of high-quality protein can utilize the protein’s amino acids to form keratin, collagen, and elastin. Studies have found that low-protein diets can cause collagen degradation as well as skin damage. A study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry found that following a protein-free diet for eight days reduced both type I and III collagen in rats. Another study published by the National Institutes of Health found that a protein deficiency can cause atopic dermatitis and skin problems.
Since nails are primarily made of hard protein, brittle or breaking of nails are also linked to protein-related problems. In other words, protein deficiency can show up in your nails. The best way to tackle it to either eat protein-rich foods or take protein supplements.
You can include protein in your diet to ward off skin problems such as redness, flaky skin, and depigmentation. As per Harvard Health, the data by Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) suggests that you should consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day. This is the minimum amount of protein that an individual must add to his or her nutritional requirements and avoid any kind of imbalance. You can include fatty fish, avocados, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, soy, dark chocolate, green tea, red grapes and more such foods in your diet.
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Also, protein requirements may also vary from one individual to another. Pregnant women or menopausal women may require more protein than others. However, you must consult your healthcare provider to know your body’s protein requirements.