By Laura DeAndrade, ANP-BC
Our bodies are always working hard to keep all of the essential body processes working. Optimal nutrition plays an integral role in the efficiency of these processes. Neglecting our diet and particularly our protein intake, will begin to display negative effects. Over time, these negative effects can cause a lot of stress and harm to our bodies.
Protein is essential for many things including: tissue healing and repair, enzyme creation and hormone production. These processes involve our blood, bones, cartilage and skin. The recommendation for the average person (not including body builders, endurance athletes, people in a catabolic state, etc.), is to consume .36-.4gm of protein per pound of body weight or per pound of your goal body weight. Consuming less than this amount could result in the following:
- Inability to Focus
When we eat more carbohydrates than our bodies need and not enough protein, we begin to feel sluggish.
Carbohydrates put our body in a calm state. This relaxed state could make getting work done difficult.
- Low Energy, Moodiness, and Stress
Protein helps to stabilize our blood sugar. When blood sugar levels drop, so does our energy level. Low energy can make us feel down, depressed and stressed.
- Constant Craving
When our appetite is not satisfied, we often start to crave foods to satisfy this hunger. Protein feeds the body what it needs, and satisfies your hunger.
- Frequent Illness
Protein helps to keep our immune system working efficiently. If your immune system is not working on all cylinders, you are more susceptible to illness.
If you go to bed hungry or eat carbs and not enough protein before bed, your blood sugar can drop during the night, causing you to awaken. It will be hard to get a good night sleep if your blood sugar is unstable.
- Muscle and/or Joint Pain
Some protein is stored in synovial fluid, which is located around the joints where protein stores become low, reserves of protein stored around the synovial fluid are depleted. The lack of protein stores in this area can then cause muscle and joint pain.
As you see, protein intake is very important. Consuming the recommended amount of your body is crucial in feeling well and living a productive life.