Are you feeling sluggish and weak? Do you find yourself getting full quickly when eating meals? These are just two of the common signs that you may need more protein in your diet. Protein is an essential macronutrient that is necessary for many body functions, such as building muscle, maintaining healthy skin, and providing energy. Whether you are looking to gain muscle mass, lose weight, or maintain a healthy lifestyle, getting enough protein is a must. Here are 11 most common signs you may need to increase your protein intake.
1. You’re always hungry
If you find yourself constantly hungry, even after eating a balanced meal, it may be a sign that you need more protein in your diet. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissue in the body and helps keep us feeling fuller for longer. When we don’t get enough protein in our diet, our body sends us signals to eat more food, which can lead to overeating and unhealthy snacking. To make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, try incorporating high-protein foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes into your meals and snacks. This will help to keep you full and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods.
2. You have trouble losing weight
If you’re eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly but still having trouble losing weight, it could be a sign that you are not getting enough protein. Protein helps your body build muscle and burn fat. If your diet lacks protein, losing weight and reaching your goals can be more complicated. Try to increase your protein intake by incorporating lean meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and beans into your diet. Additionally, a protein supplement in your routine may benefit weight loss.
3. You have cravings for unhealthy foods
One of the most common signs that you need more protein is cravings for unhealthy foods. When your body lacks protein, it can cause cravings for unhealthy, processed snacks and meals. This happens because your body is desperate for something to give it the nutrients it needs. If you constantly crave junk food or processed snacks, it’s a sign that you need to get more protein in your diet. To combat these cravings, be sure to include plenty of high-protein foods in your meals and snacks.
4. You’re always tired
Feeling fatigued is one of the most common signs that you need more protein in your diet. Feeling exhausted all day could indicate that you aren’t getting enough of the right kinds of proteins. Protein helps fuel your body with energy and helps build muscle, so it’s essential to maintain a balanced diet with enough protein to help you stay energized throughout the day. You can get your protein from lean meats, seafood, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Eating a variety of these foods will help you get the protein your body needs to stay energized and healthy.
5. You have trouble concentrating
If you’re having difficulty concentrating, it could signify that you need more protein. Protein helps to regulate hormones involved in cognitive function and alertness, so if your body isn’t getting enough of it, you may find it challenging to focus and concentrate on tasks. Studies have found that people who don’t consume enough protein can experience mental fog, forgetfulness, and difficulty with problem-solving. Try adding more lean protein sources to your diet to help get your cognitive function back up to par. This could include things like fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts.
6. You have mood swings
Do you find yourself feeling happy one minute and angry the next? This could be a sign that you need more protein in your diet. Protein helps regulate hormones which can affect your mood. Getting enough protein will help stabilize your emotions and make you more even-keeled throughout the day. Ensure you’re eating lean meats, eggs, fish, nuts, and other healthy protein sources daily. That way, your body can have the fuel to balance your hormones and keep your moods in check.
7. You’re always getting sick
Are you constantly getting sick? This could be a sign that you need more protein in your diet. A protein-rich diet helps build and maintain muscle tissue, which is vital for keeping your immune system strong.
In addition, adequate amounts of protein help your body produce antibodies to fight infections and illnesses. If you’re not getting enough protein, your body’s ability to ward off infection will weaken, making you more susceptible to illness. To ensure that your body has the fuel to fight off diseases and sicknesses, ensure you get at least 20-30 grams of protein per meal.
8. Your hair is falling out
Hair loss is a common sign of protein deficiency. If you’re not getting enough protein, it could cause your hair to become dry and brittle and eventually fall out. You may also experience thinning hair and scalp irritation. Protein is essential for healthy hair growth, so ensure you get enough of it from your diet. Eating plenty of lean proteins, such as eggs, fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and soy products can help to promote healthy hair growth. Also, consider taking a protein supplement to meet your daily requirements.
9. You have brittle nails
One of the most common signs that you may not be getting enough protein from your diet is brittle nails. Protein plays an essential role in nail health, as it helps to form the cells that make up your nails. Without enough protein, your nails can become weak and brittle. Further, inadequate protein consumption can lead to a lack of essential nutrients like calcium and zinc, which are necessary for strong and healthy nails.
If you notice that your nails are brittle and break easily, it could signify that you need more protein in your diet. To help improve your nail health, try incorporating lean proteins into your meals, such as fish, eggs, poultry, nuts, and legumes. You can also take a supplement that contains biotin and zinc to help strengthen your nails. Eating a balanced diet full of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will ensure you get the nutrients you need for healthy nails.
10. You have joint pain
Joint pain can be caused by a variety of conditions, but if you’re experiencing joint pain and you don’t know the cause, it may be an indication that you need more protein. Protein is essential for building and maintaining healthy joints and muscles. Low dietary protein levels can lead to joint inflammation, causing pain and stiffness.
To improve joint health, increase your protein intake quality. Supplementing with a high-quality protein powder can also help to ensure adequate protein intake and help reduce joint pain. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of healthy proteins can help reduce inflammation, improve joint mobility, and provide the nutrients necessary for healthy cartilage.
Swelling is another common sign that you may need to increase your protein intake. Swelling can occur due to water retention and can be caused by a variety of factors, but inadequate protein intake can play a role. Suppose you’re noticing that your body is retaining more water than usual, or you have unexplained swelling. In that case, it’s worth considering your dietary protein intake and making adjustments if needed. Protein helps regulate the body’s balance of fluids, so when you’re not getting enough, it can lead to water retention and swelling. Increasing your protein intake may help reduce any swelling you’re experiencing.
Getting enough protein in your diet is essential for maintaining good health and helping your body function properly. Signs that you may need more protein include constantly feeling hungry, having trouble losing weight, cravings for unhealthy foods, always being tired, having difficulty concentrating, mood swings, getting sick often, thinning hair, brittle nails, joint pain, slow-healing injuries, and swelling. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, adding more protein to your diet may help. Protein can be found in various foods, such as lean meats, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Be sure to consult your doctor or a nutritionist if you’re concerned about your protein intake or overall health.