Protein is a vital nutrient that our system needs to build and repair connective tissues e.g muscles, skin, ligaments, nails etc. They don’t call protein as “building blocks” of our bodies, right? The issue is that, while we do consume protein in our diets, for some of us it’s still not enough.
So how can you figure out if you need to add more protein to your diet or not? Typically, protein deficiency in our diet may manifest in the following symptoms and signs. Of course, that doesn’t mean that experiencing only one or two means that you certainly have a protein deficiency, but if most of these signs ring a bell with you, perhaps it’s time to add more protein to your everyday meals--especially if you are busy or working out often.
No 1: Your bones tend to break or hurt easily, even after taking calcium supplements. Despite calcium and Vitamin D being two key nutrients in preserving bone health, if your bone issues insist, maybe you need to take more protein and amino acids. If your body doesn’t get enough protein, it will start taking it from existing protein in your tissues--yes, you can consider it a form of cannibalism. The result would be fractured bones or weak muscles and other problems that mostly happen with age.
No 2: Your hair and nails are brittle. As protein and collagen is an essential nutrient for hair and nails health, insufficient amounts may contribute to weak and brittle nails that break easily. The hair may also lack shine and look brittle and full of split-ends--which is why many people and even hair experts confuse with other factors e.g sun damage or hormonal issues.
No 3: You’ve lost some weight and feel weak. If you have been following a diet that isn’t particularly rich in protein e.g most vegan diets and your muscles feel weak and tired, this is a sign of protein deficiency. When protein isn’t enough, the body shuts down some of its processes to maintain the existing protein in the tissues, and this leads to muscle fatigue and weakness.
No 4: You are prone to catching flu and colds. Catching the flu or cold more often than the average person e.g 2-3 times a year is often a sign of lack of nutrients that provide immune support. Even though not many are aware of this attribute of protein, any protein levels below the normal ranges could aggravate immune system issues and raise the chances of catching seasonal illnesses e.g cold and flus or even allergies.
So how much protein should you take on a daily basis? According to FDA and international nutrition guidelines, 0.6-0.8 grams of protein/kg should be consumed every day. Let’s say for example that you weigh 60 Kg that would be around 48 grams of protein in total from your daily meals.
In general, dieticians recommend that you take your protein from wholesome sources and preferably animal flesh, eggs and dairy but those on a vegetarian or vegan diet can take protein as well by combining multiple plant sources or supplements.
If you wish to amp your protein intake with liquids as well, here is a refreshing recipe with tea and protein powder that we suggest to check out: 1 cup of brewed herbal tea chilled, ½ cup of almond, ½ scoop of vanilla flavored protein powder, and 1 tsp of cinnamon. Combine all these to a blender until smooth and serve chilled. This is both filling and detoxing at the same time so no need to worry about taking other liquids besides this and water to achieve your fitness goals...