Protein: Are You Getting Enough?

Protein. We need it, we crave it, and we can’t function without it. It is one of our body’s basic building blocks. Protein is found in a variety of foods, from seeds to meat. But how much protein is necessary, and are you getting enough?

Protein is a macronutrient. From protein, we get amino acids which we need in order to survive. Amino acids convert glucose into energy, fuel and repair muscle mass, aid in the citric acid cycle, and help us feel full longer, among many other important functions.

Protein is found in a wide variety of foods. Americans believe chicken to be the most important source of protein. But protein can be found in eggs, fish, beef, pork, almonds, dairy, broccoli, oats, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, beans, and peanuts. It is possible to get enough protein, even with a vegetarian or vegan diet.

The “correct” amount of protein to get varies by weight, height, body type, age, gender, and physical activity level. It also depends on what your personal health goals are. However, it is generally agreed among nutritionists that 4-6 oz per meal is an ideal amount in order to get enough protein in your diet. 10% of your daily calorie intake should consist of protein-rich foods.

Symptoms of protein deficiency include:

  • Swelling (edema)
  • Mood changes
  • Hair, nail, and skin problems
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Hunger
  • Slow-healing injuries
  • Getting sick often

Protein deficiency often affects the elderly, people with certain cancers, or people with generally poor diets.

If you believe you aren’t getting enough protein, or would like to discuss your protein-intake with a physician, call our Premier Health Associates offices. We are open 7 days a week.