If lately you’ve been feeling that your skin, hair, and overall health are going for a toss, then pay attention: because this could be a sign that your body is protein. Even if you don’t workout, your body needs protein to function. That’s why it’s called out as the building block of life.
And when this building block is lacking, your body gives a lot of signs to tell you that you need to take more protein as whatever amount you are taking isn’t enough. Here are six signs that suggest you have a protein deficiency:
1. Your hair, nails, and skin are going for a toss at the same time
According to clinical nutritionist Dr Lovneet Batra, checking nails, skin, and hair is the first step. “Major hair loss, hair thinning, brittle nails, and dry and under-nourished skin are the first few signs that suggest you’re not giving enough protein to your body,” she says.
Wondering why? Well, amino acids in protein help in better absorption of biotin—a vitamin which gives you healthy skin, nail, and hair. So when you’re not getting enough protein, biotin absorption is affected too.
2. You feel fatigued all the time
Food energizes you, but to channelize that energy properly and keep your metabolism going, your body needs protein. “Amino acids play a major role here. They are the ones that build the neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine and serotonin. If you don’t eat the right amount of protein then you are likely to feel fatigued and brain fogged,” she explains.
3. You are becoming flabby
“Your whole body composition changes if you don’t get enough protein,” explains Dr Batra. “If you don’t work out then about 55 to 60 grams of protein is required on a daily basis. But if you do, you need about 80 grams of it. If you don’t consume this required amount, then your body starts eating your muscle mass and as a result more fat pockets are developed. This leads to a saggy and flabby skin,” she suggests.
4. You have been craving a lot of junk food lately
Sugar and junk food cravings can take over your body if you don’t get enough protein. According to Dr Batra, when we eat protein-rich food our body stimulates the secretion of a number of satiety hormones which increases the feeling of fullness.
5. You have a fatty liver
Protein helps in boosting the metabolism of the body. If you eat a lot of fat and not enough protein, then that fat can directly impact your liver. So if you have been noticing the first few signs of fatty liver, talk to your doctor about your protein intake.
6. Your hands and feet are swelling up
“This doesn’t happen in a minor protein deficiency, but in severe cases swelling of hands and feet is seen. This situation is called edema. Albumin and other proteins help in maintaining the fluidity of your blood vessels. If you lack protein then you can have low albumin which can lead to edema. Please note that there are other reasons due to which edema can happen. Protein deficiency is one of them,” explains Dr Batra.
“About 75% of the population is deficient in protein today. I always recommend including paneer, millets, and pulses in your daily diet as they are bursting with amino acids. You must pair your daily rice and roti with a protein to maintain that ratio. And ensure that of your entire meal, one-fourth is protein,” she concludes.