Why is protein so important?
Protein is an essential building block to the body, as it helps create strong muscles, bones and even blood. Athletes and those who exercise hard are among those who are at high-risk to be protein deficient.
Your body may be sending you signals that you aren’t getting enough protein, but you may be interpreting these signals as something else. Take a look at the following examples of symptoms that can be misinterpreted as another issue in the body.
Are Your Muscles a Pain?
Many people believe in the old adage, “no pain no gain.” However, sore muscles may
be a sign that you are protein deficient. Because muscles use Amino Acids as their building structure and Amino Acids come from protein, if you aren’t getting enough your muscles may feel sore and weak. Lack of protein can also cause flab to appear where you once had muscles, because your body may be using those muscle as protein for the body. If you are feeling sore muscles or even joints, take an inventory of your protein intake. Adding a bit of protein with a nutritional supplement like Advocare may help those sore muscles disappear.
Holding on to Water?
Our bodies are made up of roughly 60% water, depending on several factors. So, what’s wrong with the body holding on to some water, you may ask. Edema is created when the body’s tissue holds on to extra fluid. This generally creates the feeling of “puffiness” where the fluid is being held. Edema usually shows up in the extremities, such as arms, hands and feet. However, it can also show up in other areas of the body. To avoid the “puffy” feeling be sure to feed your body the right amount of protein it needs to thrive.
Becoming a ‘Chrome Dome?’
Have you noticed that you end up with strands or clumps of hair, that easily come out of your head? Has your hair changed texture or color? These are also signs that your body may be needing more protein. Hair contains a whopping 90% protein, which makes it easy to see why subtle or not-so-subtle changes in hair may be caused by a protein deficiency. So to keep those curly locks on your head, be sure your body is getting adequate protein.
Have the Snack-Monster on Your Back?
While snacking between meals can be healthy and even necessary for some people, choosing the wrong snacks indicate low protein in your body. Listen to what your body is telling you. If you are craving breads, candy, sweets and other carb-laden foods, you may need more protein because protein helps to keep blood sugar levels on an even keel. When blood sugar is out of whack, you may feel a multitude of unpleasantries. Just one more reason to make sure you are eating enough protein.
Head in the Clouds?
Do you have that feeling that your head is in a fog? You can’t remember anything and have a difficult time focusing? It could be “brain fog.” Again, this is where sugar and glucose come into play. If you are eating too much sugar, you are sending your brain on the glucose ride. Like a blog with cheap hosting that gets a surge of traffic, your brain slows way down. Without the protein to stabilize the glucose, our brain is riding the waves of highs and lows. Eating enough protein will help to keep your brain patterns level, allowing you to stay out of the fog.
Quick to Injure, Slow to Heal?
As mentioned above, protein helps muscles, bones and skin to grow. So when a body sustains an injury, if it is not receiving enough protein, it will take longer to heal. Any type of wound needs healthy skin cells in order for the wound to heal and close properly. However, in order to produce these healing cells, protein is essential. While top nutrition is an important factor of life, it is especially important when nursing an injury.
Can’t Kick the Cough?
One more reason that your body needs the right amount of protein is to keep the sniffles away. Protein is needed for your body to continue to produce white blood cells. If you are deficient on those white blood cells, your immune system may be weakened and cannot fight off illnesses. Because protein also helps keep your fluid well-balanced, you will heal quicker. So when you feel a cold coming on be sure to eat healthy and keep up on the protein.
Lacking in the Zzz Department?
If you’ve had trouble sleeping or staying asleep, it could be lack of protein. If your body isn’t getting enough protein, it will be craving carbs, such as sugars and sweets in excess. This is because your body burns fat, for fuel, while you are sleeping. However, if it is not receiving enough protein, your body may be burning carbs when you sleep. The difference is that carbs only burn a few hours, before waking up to look for more carbs. However, protein allows your body to burn fat for the long-haul, 8-9 hours straight, allowing you plenty of restful sleep each night.
As you can see, protein is definitely an important part of a healthy diet. It helps your body to heal quicker, keep you from getting sick, allows you to sleep better and keeps your head out of the clouds, along with many more health benefits. But you may be wondering just how much protein you should eat.
OK, so just how much protein should I eat?
The amount of protein you need on a daily basis depends on several factors such as your current weight, whether you are male or female, your training habits and more. However, the average is between 10%-35% of your daily calories should be protein. Taking that a step further the Dietary Reference Intake suggests that you take your weight and multiply is by 0.36 grams per pound, the result will be the amount of protein your body needs daily. However, I do advise that you always check with your doctor and/or dietitian to find out what your personal health goals should be; including the amount of protein that your body needs.