Proteins are the building blocks of our body, they help in wear and tear of the tissues (specifically muscles)- this is what we studied in our school times.
Undoubtedly, proteins help in repair of the muscles and tissues but there are more important functions of proteins in our body. Lack of proteins in the body can give basic symptoms which are generally ignored by people.
Before we identify whether we are eating proteins well or not, let us understand what are proteins and what are the small looking but yet serious symptoms because of deficiency of proteins.
What are proteins?
Proteins are amino acids out of which 11 are nonessential amino acids which means they are produced by our own body and the other 9 amino acids are essential amino acids are needed by our body from the external source that is food.
If the 9 essential amino acids are not provided enough to ur body then you could be facing this issue:
- Low energy- Proteins keeps you full for a longer time and delays the blood sugar to go down. Not eating enough proteins makes your feel weaker and low energy because of poor recovery and no ability to improve the metabolism.
- Poor recovery/ lethargy- Muscles are made up of proteins and if you are deficient, then you surely start depleting muscle mass. Poor muscle recovery leads to reduced metabolism, low energy, body pain and weaker bones.
- Food craving- A discussed before, not eating enough proteins and replacing proteins with fast absorbed carbs like sugars, processed foods leads to a crash to blood glucose levels. This high and low on blood sugar levels leads to more sugar or wrong foods craving to give you that kick.
- Poor quality hair/ hairfall and nails- The most common and ignored symptom of lack of proteins in your diet is hairfall and weak nails. This is the first symptom seen in protein deficiency.
- Skin dryness/ peeling/ pigmentation- Skin is made up of proteins, and it directly affects your skin. Dull, peeling of skin, pigmentation around lips and eyes are the most common symptoms seen.
- Low metabolism- Muscles are metabolically high, poor intake depletes muscles and therefore reduces the metabolism. And what you get in return is WEIGHT GAIN (Fat gain).
- Water retention- Edema is another symptom seen in extreme cases, where tissues retain water due to lack of proteins.
- Low immunity- Heamoglobin is simply Heam (iron) and globin (protein) combination. If you lack protein, you’ll have lack of oxygen supply in your body and hence, poor immunity and low heamoglobin levels.
- Restless/ Lack of sleep- Eating too much sugars and refined foods increases the load on the blood glucose levels to bring it to the optimal level. On top of that not eating enough protein doesn’t recover muscles, giving you a restless night/ sleep apnea.
Who are at the risk of more protein deficiencies?
- Pregnant women/ lactating women- The protein requirements increases during pregnancy and lactation and lack of it affects the fetus growth and milk production extensively.
- Teenagers- Lack of proteins hinders the growth of the teenagers. High intake of sugars and unhealthy carbs starts from this age which resuts in childhood obesity and lower productivity.
- Elderly- Lack of proteins reduces their immunity and weaken musces and bones.
- Workout and not eating well- People who workout a lot and fail to eat proteins are highly prone to injuries and lack of recovery.
- Injury/ acute or chronic medical issue- As proteins helps you recover, it is vital to give a high protein diet at this point.
- Crash diet- Lack of protein in the diet leads to muscle loss and not fat loss. You end up looking skinny fat, bald and dull.
What are the rich sources of proteins?
First Class Proteins: The proteins that provide all the 9 EAAs are from the animal sources like whole egg, whole milk, curd/ yogurt, paneer, cheese, chicken and fish. These are also known as complete proteins or first class proteins.
Second class proteins: They are not the complete proteins as they do not provide all the 9 EAAs. Pulses are second class proteins, therefore, they need to be combined with cereals to make a complete protein. Always see to it that you have pulses with cereal combination or else the protein won’t be getting used by your body completely. Other second class proteins are nuts, peanuts, soyabean, seeds like flaxseed, pumpkin and sprouts.
Magical Action Plan to include proteins in your diet:
- First and foremost replace sugars and all the processed foods with proteins. Instead of bread have sprouts, instead of biscuits have nuts, instead of pasta have paneer, instead of noodle and munchurian have chicken r fish with fresh vegetables.
- You must eat 6-7 meals in a day to keep the optimal health and try and incorporate protein rich foods in each meal. Example given below:
- Early morning- Milk
- Breakfast- Whole eggs/ moong or besan chilla/ poha or upma with peanuts
- Mid morning- yogurt/ curd + fruit
- Lunch- chicken/ fish/ paneer/ dal + roti/ rice + veg
- Evening- Cheese sandwich/ scrambled egg/ Hummus with veggies/ muthia + chutney
- Dinner- Same as lunch
- Incase of deficiencies, taking protein supplement is vital. Best protein brands are Gold Standard whey or isopure. Kindly take the right nutritionist advice for the right dosage.
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