Are You Getting Enough Protein?

health & wellbeing Jun 16, 2024
This person is strong due to PIlates for maintaining muscle mass


Growing up as a child who didn't eat meat, I missed out on an adequate protein level. Vegetarianism wasn't mainstream like it is today. so instead of replacing meat with plant-based protein I ate carbohydrates with occasional eggs and fish. Not exactly a balanced diet but there wasn't much awareness around proper diet and information wasn't readily available like it is now.  Ensuring you have adequate protein in your diet can be challenging, but the difference it can make to your overall health and well-being can be life-changing.


Why Is Protein So Important?


Protein is made up of molecules called amino acids which are often referred to as the building blocks of life. Proteins play numerous critical roles in the body, such as:

Maintaining Muscle Mass

Adequate protein intake is crucial not only for building new muscle but also for preventing muscle loss (atrophy).  This is particularly important during periods of calorie restriction, weight loss, or aging when muscle mass can be lost if protein intake is insufficient.

Immune Function 

Antibodies, which are proteins, are essential components of the immune system. They recognize and neutralize harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses, helping to defend the body against infections and diseases.

Source of Energy

While carbohydrates and fats are the body's primary sources of energy, proteins can also be used for energy production when needed, particularly during periods of fasting, prolonged exercise, or insufficient intake of other energy sources.

Maintaining Fluid Balance

Proteins help maintain the balance of fluids within cells and tissues by exerting osmotic pressure. This is important for proper hydration and the function of cells.

Hormonal Regulation

Hormones are chemical messengers that regulate various physiological processes in the body. Many hormones, including insulin (which regulates blood sugar levels) and growth hormone (which regulates growth and development), are proteins or peptides.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Inadequate Protein Intake?


Muscle loss and weakness, dry and brittle hair, skin and nails and impaired immune function are all signs of inadequate protein. Fatigue and weakness are also common. Feeling weak or hungry is also a sign as protein satisfies the appetite. Constant infections are also an indicator as protein boosts the immune system. 


How Much Protein Should You Be Having? 


The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 70 kg you need 56 grams of protein per day. High protein foods include lean beef, chicken, tofu, eggs, salmon and low fat cottage cheese for example. Like anything too much protein can be harmful so it's important to know the right amount of protein appropriate for you.

If you want to ensure you maintain muscle mass as you age and stay strong and healthy, my unique online Pilates studio is for you.  If you would like to start 1 on 1 virtual Pilates sessions with me email me at [email protected]. Alternatively, sign up HERE and we can schedule an appointment time. If you want to work independently join my online Pilates program of on-demand videos which I specifically designed to help you recover from pain or injury  It would be my pleasure to assist you on your movement journey to staying strong and aging well.






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