NEW DELHI – Protein is one of the most crucial nutrients required for the healthy functioning of our bodies. The role of protein is commonly misunderstood and is usually associated with muscle gain.
Protein has multiple benefits, ranging from metabolism to muscle synthesis. This building block of our body should be an essential part of our diet and should be considered in order to lead a healthier lifestyle.
We all have different protein requirements based on our lifestyles and health factors. For example, a regular, active gym-goer would require more protein per day than your average sedentary man. Pallav Bihani, founder of Boldfit, shares major symptoms of protein deficiency:
You can’t seem to lose the fat: Have you been working out relentlessly, eating clean and still not seeing a visible difference in your fat loss journey? You need protein. When you don’t consume enough protein, your body cannot repair the muscles properly, which eventually leads to the loss of those hard-earned muscles instead of burning fat. Low protein intake can also dip your energy levels marginally, so make sure you are loaded up!
Unstable mood: Low protein intake is also linked with unstable moods, irritability and brain fog. Protein is crucial for synthesising a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for our mood. Such as serotonin, the hormone which makes one feel safe and happy. Missing out on protein can therefore cause fluctuations in one’s mood.
Cravings: Our body requires specific nutrients to be up and running whenever we need to hustle. When you provide inadequate protein, it causes your blood sugar levels to drop, which causes your body to trigger cravings for a quick fix. Consume protein-rich foods to make sure that your blood sugar levels are stable.
Bone strength: Calcium is essential for skeletal integrity, but did you know that 50% of our bones are protein in terms of volume. Along with vitamin D and calcium, dietary protein is crucial for bone health and longevity. Protein plays a huge role in preserving bone density with ageing.
Skin, hair and nail problems: Your skin, hair and nails are primarily made of protein, and so naturally, a deficiency in protein would reflect on them too. Severe protein deficiency may even cause redness, flaky skin and de-pigmentation. It may also cause hair thinning, fading, hair loss and brittle nails. Edema, which leads to puffy and swollen skin, is another classic symptom of protein deficiencies.
A safe thumb rule is to consume 1 –1.5g of protein per kg of bodyweight (for example, if you weigh 60kg, your ideal protein intake goal is between 60g and 90g per day). Consume protein from natural sources like meat, eggs, fish, dairy, legumes, soy, and if you cannot meet your goal intake, then invest in protein supplements like whey protein, vegan protein powder and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids).