We have all heard that protein is the building block of our body and is absolutely essential for us to survive. What does the body need protein for? It needs protein to repair old tissues and cells and create new cells in the body. This makes it vital for the healthy functioning of our bodies.
Although with 70% of the total composition, water remains the main component in our body but it is followed by the needed protein composition. While it is present to a large degree in our muscles (about 43%), skin (15%) and blood (16%), protein provides us with about 10-15 percent of dietary energy.
While protein deficiencies are rare, it can occur in someone with a restrictive diet or medical condition. When you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet, your body has different ways of letting you know.
Here are the six biggest signs to help you spot protein deficiency, enumerated by Esha Singh, managing director, India and Emerging markets, Myprotein.
1. You maybe losing muscle mass
A drop in muscle mass is often one of the biggest telltale signs of protein deficiency.
This can happen since if the body is running low on dietary protein intake, it tends to take the needed protein from our muscles. Over time, this leads to muscle wasting. This makes it essential to get the adequate protein intake you need to build healthy muscle.
2. You maybe experiencing thinning hair, brittle nails, and skin problems
While protein fulfills the basic function of the building and maintaining cell growth, it is an essential part of your skin, hair, and nails. Their health levels can show signs of its lacking adequate value.
If you’re protein deficient, you may see redness on the skin, nails can feel softer and your hair can become more brittle over time. When the body is running low on protein,one’s hair can lose its lustrous shine or its healthy volume and thickness. It may also start to split.
What’s the solution? Biotin is a vital element found in protein-rich foods. It is essential for naturally healthy hair, skin, and nails.
3. You may experience expansion in appetite and increased calorie intake
Do you often crave something sweet? When your body feels protein deficient, it might tend to respond by actually feeling hungrier. Generally, an increase in hunger pangs makes you want to fulfill your sweet tooth cravings.
It’s only when someone consumes sufficient protein intake, that keeps them satisfied for longer duration and helps ward off cravings and hunger pangs. So what happens with lesser protein intake? It does exactly the opposite and leaves one hungrier, which results in increased calorie intake.
4. You might have fragile bones
Proteins helps maintain bone density and strength. What happens when one is protein deficient? It might weaken their bones and increase the risk of experiencing fractures often.
5. Your injuries might take longer to heal
Do you often have wounds that seem to take longer than usual to heal itself? Surprisingly, the healing process of wounds is interlinked with one’s protein levels. This makes it essential to get the recommended daily minimum of protein to help heal and speed up sport-related injuries.
6. You might have a compromised immune system
Amino acids are essential nutrients found in protein. However, a deficiency in them can increase your risk of contracting a disease. This might take a toll on the immune system and may disable your body’s ability to fight infections.
A study said that consuming protein, whey protein in particular, can help strengthen the immune system and ward off diseases. There’s something extra that sets whey apart from other proteins when it comes to immunity. Whey protein seems to boost glutathione production in some tissues. Glutathione is an element in the antioxidant defense system in the body that dictates immune function.
For Indian adults, the recommended intake of daily protein is about 0.6 grams per kilogram of body weight. What can one eat to ensure optimal protein intake? Although foods can vary in the protein intake provided, some of the sources include meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, cereals and cereal products (e.g. bread), nuts and pulses (beans and lentils).
While it is important to become conscious of one’s protein requirements, one must have a varied and balanced diet of all food groups, including other nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
(With inputs from IANS)