Do you know, it is estimated that 80% of Indians are protein deficient – i.e. they do not get enough protein in their diet. But how much protein is enough protein? I am not into body building, do I still need a lot of protein? If you have any of these questions, let us answer those for you.
Why are Proteins essential for body?
Protein provides the essential amino acids to the body. They are also the building blocks for organs, muscles, nails and hair, immune molecules, blood cells, hormones and enzymes. It also helps cells in communication and transmission of nerve signals along with allowing muscle contraction. Not only this, the protein we consume assists our cells in synthesizing other protein.
In case one does not consume enough protein, the body breaks down protein-rich tissues such as muscles. It can lead to
- Food cravings: Low Protein diet would lead to the feeling of hunger pangs. Protein evens out blood sugar highs and lows
- Muscle and joint pain: As discussed above, since they are the building blocks, one will feel muscle and joint pains.
- Slow recovery from injuries: After an injury, cells and tissues need to be rebuilt. Lack of protein will lead to slower building and hence slow recovery.
- Feeling of Weakness
- Higher number of infections
- Hair, skin, and nail troubles: Low protein diet will lead to reduced quality of hair texture (say goodbye to lousy hair), possibility of skin rashes, rough nails
- Fluid retention: One might get water retention and resulting swelling, especially around feet and ankles
- Brain fog: With lack of protein, blood sugar levels will fluctuate leading to short bursts of mental energy, foggy brain and possible flashes.
Think of it this way. If our body is an electrical device, protein is the electricity. Not enough of it, and the appliance (our body) will not work properly.
Advantages of consuming enough Protein
Other than not having the side effects of protein deficient diet, eating enough protein has its advantages:
Boost Muscle Mass: Ever wonder why bodybuilders always have a shaker bottle of protein in them? Protein forming the basic building block of muscles and tissues, they build muscle mass which leads to better looking and healthier body
Increased Metabolism: Though not a direct effect, but with increased protein intake, the muscle mass increases and that increases metabolism which aids in fat burning.
Reduces hunger pangs: Food rich in Proteins gives a feeling of being filled up. So one snacks less and avoids overeating. Eating protein also creates a process in the body known as thermogenesis, which requires the body to expend more energy (calories) in order to digest food.
Controls Blood Sugar: Sugar. The enemy we love. When you eat foods high on carbohydrates and sugar, the body produces more insulin to absorb the spike in blood sugar levels. However, Protein has minimal effect on blood sugar levels and hence fewer fluctuations. This helps in preventing type 2 diabetes, balancing energy levels, and keeping appetite and mood in check.
Improved Brain Function: Proteins supply the essential amino acids for proper brain function. This helps in keeping high levels of concentration, increased focus, and energy levels. During amino acid deprivation, learning and coordination suffer, but once all necessary amino acids are reintroduced into the diet, learning and motor skills improve.
Important Links –
Side effects of excessive exercise
VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY: Things to Know…!!!
National Nutrition Week – Eating right is a Lifestyle
Yoga – BEAUTIFUL , BOUNTIFUL AND BLISSFUL
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