“Eat eggs for breakfast”
“Get to lickin’ some chicken’ after your workout”
“Eat some broccoli to shed some weight”
These are some protein tips that you might have heard or read about. BUT there are some unexpected signs of lack of protein in your body, even if you eat it every day.
Protein is one of the most vital components of your diet. It can be found in a variety of foods that you eat every day, ranging from meat and fish to legumes, dairy and quinoa and seeds, grain fruits and vegetables and protein supplements.
But are you sure that you are supplying your body with enough of this macronutrient? Are you really getting enough protein?
1. YOU FEEL WEAK: Do you know that your body breaks down your own muscles as fuel and energy when you don’t eat enough protein.
So if you are experiencing muscle weakness or loss of existing muscle, it may be because you’re not eating enough protein.
2. YOU CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT: Cutting down on protein to lose weight, in an effort to cut down on calories, actually ends up slowing down your metabolism.
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat more protein, since it is linked to eating fewer calories throughout the day as you will feel fuller longer. Also, the weight you will lose will be from fat, not muscle.
3. YOU GET SICK OFTEN: Do you take a long time to recover from cuts, scrapes or infections? This could be due to a lack of protein consumption. When you don’t eat enough protein, your body utilises the T Cells (germ fighters) in your body as fuel that would typically combat colds and flus. So get your fix of protein so that your body uses the T cells for what it’s actually meant for.
4. YOUR HAIR IS THINNING: To retain stored protein and save energy, your body will enter a resting phase in which it will not grow hair, resulting in hair loss or thinning.
5. YOUR SKIN IS PEELING: Flaky, irritated skin on the back of your thighs and glutes is caused by the weakening of the skin barrier that makes your skin more susceptible to allergens. So protect your skin by eating more protein.
6. YOU ARE SWOLLEN: Is your lower body – legs, ankles and feet experiencing unexpected swelling? Not eating enough protein causes fluids that would normally be stored in your blood vessels to seep into surrounding tissue.
7. YOU ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY: Protein helps to keep you fuller for longer. If you find that you are always hungry or that you need a snack or two between meals, this might be your body’s way of telling you that you need to eat more protein at each meal.
8. YOU CRAVE DESSERT: If you’re not hungry but you also specifically crave sweets, you might need more protein. Protein evens out blood sugar and glucose levels. So eat protein at every meal so that you are less likely to have highs and lows with your blood sugar and curb those cravings.
9. YOU FEEL TIRED: Lack of sleep or overexertion at the gym/work has probably left you feeling tired. However if you’re feeling tired at the middle of the day, your blood sugar and protein levels are to blame. Instead of taking a nap, which is not an easy option for everybody, reach for a protein rich snack and watch your energy improve.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms then you might have a protein deficiency. So turn the protein intake up a notch by incorporating it into the meals you eat 3 times a day.