5 Signs And Symptoms That You’re Not Eating Enough Protein!

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5 Signs And Symptoms That You're Not Eating Enough Protein
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Here are the 5 signs and symptoms that you are not eating enough protein. Protein is the building block of our body, so we must intake a sufficient amount of protein on a daily basis to perform any body function. Protein provides the necessary amino acids for our body to regulate the immune system and build muscle. We can easily find protein in different sources of foods but the best sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs, etc.  Protein is a ‘macronutrient’ just like fat and carbohydrates, hence we need to intake a large amount of protein to keep our body healthy and running.

Signs And Symptoms That You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

To get an adequate amount of protein for our body, we must know about the foods that are rich in protein. We won’t get the required protein if we go for random eating, especially in vegetarians. Plant-based foods also have protein but if we don’t eat them in a balanced diet, there is a probability of suffering from protein deficiency.

When we are not getting enough of the most essential nutrient in our body, we are sure to suffer from various problems and diseases. Since our body won’t be able to rebuild new cells and immune system also declines, we will get unhealthier day by day.

As protein becomes low in our body, we will see different signs and symptoms relating to it. Here, we have mentioned 5 signs which can be noticed when we are not eating enough protein.

1. Edema

Edema

Serum albumin is a protein which is the most abundant one in our blood. The protein helps in the consistent flow of blood circulation and prevents an excessive amount of fluid to accumulate in tissues. When the protein becomes low in our blood, we can suffer from puffy and swollen skin also known as ‘Edema’. It’s because of the fluid accumulating in tissues. Edema is the extreme level of protein deficiency and can be usually found in developing and under-developed countries. In such a case, swelling can be seen mostly in the abdomen.

2. Unable to Keep or Build Muscle

Since protein is the building block of muscle, it’s obvious that protein deficiency will have an adverse effect on our muscle. When our body doesn’t get enough protein from outside, protein in our muscles are break down as a source of amino acids. So, when we lack amino acids in our muscle, it loses mass and strength. Thus, we need to have enough protein in regular interval of time.

3. Problems Related to Hair, Skin, and Nail

Hair, nail, and skin are largely composed of proteins. So, deficiency of protein is likely to affect them all. Hair can be thinner, color faded, and in some case hair loss as well. In case of skin, we may see flaky skin or patches and redness on the skin surface. Nails can be brittle with deep ridges when the amount of protein is reduced in our body. This is one of the severe signs of protein deficiency and not common in developed countries.

4. Always Hungry

Always Hungry

Unlike carbohydrates, protein takes time to be digested. If we eat foods with high protein, our body will take more time to digest it. This means we won’t feel hungry for a long time. If we are eating in a regular interval but still feel hungry or crave for more food, we are not eating the right food with a high amount of protein. In such a scenario, we must choose a meal that can give the required amount of protein for our body.

5. High Risk of Bone Fractures

It may sound weird but protein deficiency can also affect bones in our body. If we are consuming enough protein, our bones may weaken and be at risk of fractures. Our bones also need protein in addition to calcium to be strong and dense. When we don’t get enough protein, our body tends to use the proteins from skeletal muscle tissues. This causes the muscles around the bone weak and prone to fractures.

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Our body is a system and we need all the nutrients in the right amount to perform well. Protein composes a high percentage of our body and is one of the most essential nutrients for us. It helps to rebuild damaged cells and replace dead with new ones. Without protein, we won’t be able to last long or live a healthy life. Therefore, we have to consume foods that are rich in protein to compensate for its deficiency.

Angeline is a registered dietitian currently working in research. She have participated in many public health programs organised by WHO, and other health organisations around the world. She studied in North Ireland and in the USA to complete a BSc in Human Nutrition from Ulster University. She then went on to complete my PhD focusing on diet, exercise, weight management and more recently completed a postgraduate diploma in dietetics. She enjoy walks on the beautiful north coast of Ireland and is passionate about providing evidence-based nutrition advice for the general public. You can connect with her any time for a health advice.

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