Eating a balanced diet on a daily basis needs a serious commitment that most people just can’t keep up. Protein is essential for good health, and they make up the major component of all our body cells. Protein also provides amino acids that help keep our bodies active. But here’s the problem. We don’t get enough protein as we should. And although rare, protein deficiency is a serious health condition that should be addressed.
Why Our Bodies Need Protein
You must have heard that protein is one of the primary building blocks of our skin, bones, and cartilage. Proteins also aid in our digestion – it produces the enzymes that help to break down food into molecules, turning it into a usable form required by the body.
For those who are strength training or exercising regularly, you need a little more protein because protein is required for muscle building.
What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Protein?
You May Develop Weak Nails and Hair
Proteins like keratin, elastin, and collagen are responsible for healthy hair and nails. The protein, keratin, which is found on our skin, provides strength and structure. Collagen, which is the most abundant protein in our bodies, provides the building blocks of skin, bones, muscles, and ligaments. Elastin, on the other hand, is responsible for the flexibility and elasticity of body tissues. That’s what allows our body tissues to return to their original shape and size after being stretched, for example, after an intensive workout.
Your Immune System May Weaken
As one of the major building blocks of antibodies, which our bodies produce to help fight viruses and bacteria, you can understand how important proteins are to our immune system. When we take fewer proteins than required, our immune system may start to weaken, making our bodies vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. With a weak immune system, we become more susceptible to infections, and we may experience poor wound healing.
You May Get Stress Fractures
If you thought that calcium is solely responsible for strong bones, you’re wrong. Bones undergo constant restoration, and because of this, we need a sufficient supply of protein to support the restoration process. When the body doesn’t get enough protein, it starts to borrow protein from other areas, including that stored in our skeletal muscle tissue. With weak skeletal muscle tissue, the bones become prone to fractures and other injuries.
Your Cravings for Food Increase
We all crave a snack in between meals – and it’s normal. However, when these cravings become constant, and you feel less satisfied after meals, it may be due to a lack of protein at mealtime. Protein helps to regulate blood sugar by slowing down the absorption of carbs. Eating enough protein makes you feel fuller for longer and reduces the chances of mood swings. Try to eat a protein-rich breakfast and see how your day will proceed without cravings.
It May Affect Your Focus
Our brains need an adequate supply of proteins to function properly. That explains why, on some days, you can’t focus at work or on various tasks – it’s because you skimp on protein. Protein contains the amino acid, tyrosine, which is responsible for promoting the neurotransmitters that help keep us energized and focused.
You May Experience Slow Metabolism
When your body is low on protein, you may start to experience muscle loss, due to slow metabolism. According to Caroline Apovian, MD, director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at Boston Medical Center, “your resting energy expenditure (REE) will go down because it is directly related to how much muscle mass you have.” The National Academy of Medicine asserts that the recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 – 1.1 grams per kilogram of body weight, without considering calorie intake and physical activity.
You May Suffer from Fluid Retention
Edema is a condition that causes swelling in your legs and feet due to the buildup of fluids. The condition can be triggered when you eat a diet with low levels of protein. Protein helps to maintain salt and water balance inside your blood vessels and ensuring that fluid doesn’t get into the tissues. When the level of blood protein is too low, it loses its capacity to maintain the balance, resulting in edema.
You’re Likely to Develop High Blood Pressure
Millions of people around the world struggle with hypertension. According to health experts, individuals with low protein levels are at more risk of developing it. One study by the American Journal of Hypertension discovered that adults who consumed a high protein diet like dairy, meat, or eggs, registered lower blood pressure levels after four years than those who maintained a low protein diet. Hypertension is related to heart diseases and stroke. So, go on and indulge in those eggs and meat, they are good for your health.
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