Protein is an essential nutrient that plays many important roles in the human body, including building and repairing tissues, producing enzymes and hormones, and helping to maintain a healthy immune system.
How does not eating enough protein affect your health?
Not eating enough protein seems to be a common occurrence with many of my clients. Rarely is “quick food” protein rich and with our demanding lifestyles quick is one of the things we are looking for. The go-to foods tend to be processed and loaded with sugars. I have found that simply increasing daily protein intake and decreasing processed foods is all it takes for someone to “feel like themselves” again.
Consuming too little protein impacts the brain, gut, bones, muscles, and weight management:
- Impaired Brain Function: Insufficient protein intake can affect neurotransmitter production, which in turn may lead to mood swings, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems.
- Weakened Gut Health: Adequate protein is necessary for maintaining healthy gut function and the integrity of the intestinal lining. A lack of protein may result in compromised gut health and an increased risk of gastrointestinal issues.
- Bone Weakness: Protein plays a crucial role in building and maintaining strong bones. Inadequate protein consumption can lead to decreased bone density, increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
- Muscle Loss: Without sufficient protein, the body may start breaking down muscle tissue for energy, leading to muscle atrophy and weakness. This can be particularly problematic for older adults, who are already at risk for age-related muscle loss.
- Poor Weight Management: Consuming enough protein helps with satiety and weight management. A diet too low in protein may lead to increased hunger and overeating, resulting in weight gain.
- Slowed Wound Healing: Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of tissues, including skin. Inadequate protein intake can impair the body’s ability to heal wounds and recover from injuries.
- Weakened Immune System: Protein is vital for a healthy immune system, as it helps produce antibodies and immune cells. A lack of protein can compromise the immune system’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses.
- Fatigue and Decreased Energy Levels: Protein is important for maintaining energy levels, and a lack of protein can lead to feelings of fatigue and decreased energy.
Here are some good sources of protein:
- Grass-fed or wild meats: chicken, turkey, beef, pork, wild game
- Wild caught fish and seafood: salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring, trout, tuna, shrimp, crab
- Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese – organic and preferably raw
- Eggs, pastured
- Beans and legumes: lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds
- Hemp hearts
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Whey isolate and collagen peptides
It’s important to choose a variety of protein sources to ensure that you get all the essential amino acids your body needs. Some plant-based sources of protein, such as beans and lentils, will need to be combined with grains or other proteins to provide a complete protein source
If you aren’t sure how much protein is ideal for you and would like help getting your health on track, please make an appointment with me today! I would love to work with you to help you achieve your absolute best health.