Protein is an essential building block in building our muscles. It helps us recover from strenuous activities and also helps keep us feeling full and satisfied. In the old days, it was difficult to get protein. Meat was a luxury and a bad growing season could mean little protein from things like beans and grains.
These days, we have the luxury of having enough of everything we need to eat readily available. There are times, however, when we are not getting enough protein and need to understand the signs. People who practice a strict vegan diet, for instance, are more likely to have a protein deficiency if they haven’t gotten a diet planned out by a nutritionist ahead of time. And people who work out a lot that also have not had a diet planned out for them.
There are others still that are susceptible to protein deficiency, but for the sake of brevity, let’s dive right in and see what it looks like when you aren’t getting enough protein in your diet.
Where to get protein
Protein comes in many forms, so no matter what diet you adhere to, there are going to be plenty of options to get protein in your diet.
For instance, somebody that doesn’t eat pork will still have plenty of other meat options to choose from that all have more than enough protein for our daily allowance. And the aforementioned vegans can also choose between beans, grains and even things like protein infused recovery water.
Even things like spinach have protein so there are so many ways to get enough without really thinking too much about it. It’s one of those things that you don’t think about it until you realize that you’re not eating enough of it.
Slow recovery from workouts
When you workout or play a sport, you put your muscles through the wringer. That pain you feel afterwards is a result of the damage they underwent and they need protein to be able to repair themselves.
The protein is the building block of your muscles so they need it to get back to normal as fast as possible. It’s important to eat protein before a workout and even after to make sure that there is enough protein in your system to help those muscles.
When you often have a hard time bouncing back after a workout, it may not be because you’re older or out of shape. It could be a sign that you need to bulk up on more protein.
Brittle hair and nails
Hair and nails are made up of a protein called keratin. So, now you can see a direct link to your hair and nails between protein and their condition. If you want strong nails and hair that shine and have a healthy glow, then you need protein.
One of the first signs that you aren’t getting enough protein is that your hair trunks brittle and your nails look and feel dull. An extreme example is that your hair could even come out in clumps. Do you have your shower drain full of hair? Then this could be the first sign.
Even if your hair isn’t falling out, you’ll see some signs. Many people see their hair lose its sheen and look dull. It also feels rough to the touch. Often, they attribute this to too much chlorine or chloramine in their water. But, it could be that you aren’t getting enough protein to help the keratin keep the cell walls strong so the hair retains moisture.
Vegans are often the ones that most complain about this problem as it is protein from animals that is high in collagen and helps keep hair and nails looking shiny and healthy.
Lack of concentration
If you have been feeling like you can’t remember simple things, or are often distracted then on its own that might not mean much. When added to the list above, it can be a sign that you aren’t getting enough protein as your cognitive functions are impacted.
Neurotransmitters are reliant on amino acids from protein to send out dopamine and serotonin. When these hormones are disrupted, it affects your mood and ability to sleep which then contributes to a lack of concentration.
Even your blood sugar is regulated by protein so if you are deficient then your blood sugar is going to be off and affect your concentration. Once again, these on their own aren’t signs, necessarily, but taken together they paint a picture that you need to be eating more protein.