8 Signs You Aren’t Getting Enough Protein

Proteins are long chains of amino acids that play an important role in many functions within your body. They are an essential macronutrient – and while we can pull it from our organs, muscles, and tendons, if we’re in dire need of amino acids, over time, that can cause serious damage to your health. Protein is a building block for the muscles, and the fuel that supports the body’s cells and tissues. It’s a must for fitness, health and longevity.

Of course, most people don’t give protein much thought at all, with the exception of bodybuilders and those who are on special diets which are protein-focused. And, the majority don’t really even know what proteins are.

What is protein?

These long chain amino acids are important molecules derived from one’s diet, most commonly known to be found in foods from animals such as meat, eggs, fish and dairy, though they can also be found in vegetables and other plant foods like nuts, seeds, and beans.

Our body produces 11 amino acids, but the other essential amino acids, nine of them, must be consumed from food. As they are used to grow and maintain just about every part of the body, from digestive enzymes and immune system antibodies to the hair and skin, they’re continuously being broken down and have to be replaced. Protein is utilized for every single cell in the body and is essential for building muscle mass, keeping our mood lifted, balancing hormones, supporting neurological function and aiding digestion. Protein-filled foods are also good for helping to prevent weight gain, as they make us feel fuller and more satisfied, requiring more work for the body to digest as compared to faster acting refined carbs as well as helping to keep the metabolism burning at its max.

Although amino acids are separate chemical compounds that are stored in a variety of foods, research has found that they are held together by peptide bonds – without enough diverse protein sources in your diet, you’ll risk becoming deficient in certain amino acids which can result in all sorts of negative effects from difficulty concentrating and poor memory to mood swings, low energy, unstable blood sugar levels, and serious challenges when it comes to weight loss, or maintaining weight.

Simply put, without protein, you would cease to exist.

How much protein do you need?

The average person requires half of his or her body weight in protein each day, which means if you weigh 140 pounds, you’d need at least 70 grams of protein daily, especially if you hope to burn fat and build muscle – for serious athletes, you’ll probably need even more.

Are you at a higher risk of protein deficiency?

People who are on low calorie, vegetarian or vegan diets, are at an especially high risk of not getting all of those important amino acids. However, you can combine various plant foods in order to create the ideal combination that offers all of the essential amino acids, such as beans and rice, vegetables and whole grains, along with including hemp seeds.

8 Signs You Aren’t Getting Enough Protein

So, how would you know if you’re not getting enough protein? The signs below may indicate just that, but, be sure to keep in mind that when it comes to any type of nutrient deficiency, symptoms can have other causes too. This general list that can provide you with clues that you may have a problem, but it should be confirmed through a professional rather than used to self-diagnose the condition.

  • Frequent cravings
  • Brain fog
  • Sleep problems and Insomnia 
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Your hair is starting to fall out more
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • You get sick frequently
  • Poor bone health.

What are the best protein foods?

According to the USDA, the recommended minimum daily intake of protein for adults is 56 grams per day for male and 46 grams per day for female. Some of the best vegan and vegetarian options are seeds like flax, chia and hemp, nuts like walnuts and almonds and all types of legumes and beans, as well as unprocessed ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth, farro and buckwheat. Good animal foods include grass-fed beef, raw organic dairy, cage-free eggs and wild-caught fish.

Source and References: davidwolfe.com