Having a well-balanced diet is important for more reasons than one. When you let your diet go, you let your body go.

You’ll start to witness all sorts of aches, pains and nuisances that you hadn’t during your younger years. By paying attention to what your body is telling you, you can pinpoint underlying issues and potentially stop it from escalating into a severe condition.

Protein is an important macronutrient that your body needs. When you don’t get enough of it from your diet, you’ll slowly but surely start to witness problems. Here are five signs your body will give you that say you’re protein deficient.

You’re feeling lazier than usual

You’ve had a great night’s sleep, but soon after waking up, you feel sluggish and have a major lack of energy. You may even feel like taking a nap before you’ve had lunch or at other odd times you normally wouldn’t feel tired during.

Those who switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet oftentimes have this problem because they fail to implement sufficient plant-based proteins into their diet. However, this issue can also be for those who have reduced their intake of animal proteins.

Whether you’re feeling a lack of energy physically or mentally, you can find your protein fix with natural sources like spirulina, raw nuts, legumes, quinoa, romaine lettuce, portabella mushrooms, hemp and pea protein powder.

Being physically active has become a strain

It’s great that you’re trying to run, do yoga, lift weights or do other forms of physical activities, but you won’t get the maximum benefit from them if you aren’t able to complete them or give it your all.

If you find doing your normal exercises to be a strain on you, then it’s because your muscles aren’t getting enough protein to properly build themselves, making you weaker.

To remedy this, you should start taking protein shakes three times a day during the days you work out. You can choose between hemp protein or pea protein, or use both of them. Add in spirulina to get an extra boost of protein.

You used to have muscles, but now you’re flabby

All your hard work goes right down the drain when you don’t consume enough protein to feed the muscles you’ve tried oh-so-hard to build.

When your body lacks in protein, it’s going to start pulling it from whatever sources it can find — and it just so happens that your muscles are an oasis of protein.

If you don’t consume enough protein in your diet, supplement it with protein shakes. It’s a good idea to drink protein smoothies within an hour after you workout. This should help prevent your body from cannibalizing itself.

Your bodily injuries aren’t healing quick enough

Whether it’s muscle soreness after weight lifting or an actual injury, if you notice that your body isn’t healing as quickly as it used to, then this is a sure sign of protein deficiency.

Protein is used for building tissue — after all, it’s why you drink protein shakes to build muscles. Without the proper nutrients, your body won’t be able to recover and you’ll be too sore each and every time you work out, which will prevent you from being able to complete your reps and sets efficiently.

You notice your hair falling out

When you lack in protein, your body goes into starvation mode, which means the areas of your body that needs certain nutrients will no longer get it — including your nails and hair.

Your hair and nails require a certain amount of protein to remain healthy and strong, and when you become deficient, you’ll notice them becoming brittle and breaking off.

So if you notice in the shower that your hair is shedding more or your nails are chipping and breaking, then this is a sign for “more protein please!”

Pay attention to your daily protein in-take

To help ensure that you are getting enough protein in your diet, you’ll need to keep a chart of how much you’re consuming. You’ll need to first determine how much protein you need daily based on your weight. This can easily be found using this calculator.

Once you have determined how much protein you need, start calculating how much each of your foods and supplements provide you with. Make sure that you include the amount of protein you eat during your meals per day, along with the smoothies you drink.

If you find that you aren’t getting enough, you can either increase the amount of protein smoothies you’re drinking, go from three meals to four meals a day to get extra doses of protein and/or have protein-rich snacks in between meals and late-night before you head off to bed.

Another option is to up the dose of your smoothies — for instance, rather than taking 3 tb of pea protein or hemp, you can take 6 tb.

Whatever methods you decide to use, make sure to stay on top of it and keep a close eye on your consumption to ensure that you’re getting enough. Over time, you should start to see improvements in your body and energy levels.

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