7 Signs You Need To Eat More Protein
Protein is a vital food group that we need in order to stay fit, healthy and happy. It’s important therefore, that you consume the right amount on a daily basis in order to live a long and prosperous life. This is why we bring to you seven warning signs that your body is begging for more protein:
As we reach our elderly years, we’re told to expect nothing from our bodies apart from brittle bones and decay. We can lift weights if we want, but we’re not going to get any stronger. However, that is far from the case. Older people can actually build bone density and even build muscle by lifting heavy weights. All they need is more protein than the younger lifters.
The elderly cannot process protein as efficiently so they need to increase their intake in order to make up for it.
This is one of the first signs that you’re low on protein. Like most people, you would have thought a protein shortage would trigger an urge for chicken and steak right? However, one of protein’s main functions is to control blood sugar level, which means if you’re lacking, your glucose levels will be all over the place. This is why your body craves a quick-fix energy boost that candy provides.
For example, if you only ate a handful of cereal in the morning, you’ll get energy right away, but then your energy will begin to decrease throughout the day. That up and down process is where the urges start.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient, which in other words means it’s the best at giving you that feeling of fullness. That’s why high protein diets usually lead to a decrease in calorie intake because your body isn’t constantly fighting the urge for food. You simply don’t want it.
Try adding 20 grams of protein to each meal. Stuff like steak, chicken, eggs and salmon will all help you feel satisfied for longer.
Balanced blood sugar is once again the key here, with it being essential for staying focused. This causes you to feel foggy – like you can’t get to grip with the program at work. Having a steady intake of protein is needed in order to fuel your brain for performance.
So if you’re relying on foods such as bread or crackers, then you’ll only have short bursts of mental energy, followed by waning concentration levels.
Lifting heavy changes the way your body processes protein. Resistance training makes you more efficient so you actually need less protein to sustain muscle mass. So if maintenance is your objective, then you probably don’t need more protein.
However, resistance training also pushes your body harder so you can consume a higher protein intake into greater strength gains and muscle mass. The more protein available, the bigger the response.
Your biceps isn’t the only thing which protein strengthens – it’s also needed for building up the immune system. So if you seem to catch a lot more colds than everyone else despite being in otherwise good health, it could be down to protein deficiency.
Another warning sign is hangnails. Our skin is a big immune organ as it protects us from the environment. If yours isn’t strong enough, you may notice cracks and tears like hangnails which can ultimately lead to infection.
It may seem a weird sign of protein deficiency, but let us explain. When your body isn’t getting enough protein, it goes into conservation mode. This means it stops using valuable protein on the production of things like nails and hair. The end result here is pretty straightforward: hair in the shower, brittle nails and a whole host of unwanted problems.
About Matt Lawson Matt Lawson is a UK based sports journalist who covers all the latest football (soccer) news and matches for the Press Association. A keen Newcastle United fan, Matt is usually found either watching or playing the beautiful game.