According to Harvard Medical School, daily protein intake should be about 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For the average 50-year-old, 140-pound, sedentary woman, this is approximately 53 grams of protein per day. Your body needs protein to help your body repair cells and make new ones, which affects your hair, skin, nails, muscles, and more.
If you are not reaching this recommended amount, your body might be sending you the following signals.
You are perpetually sick
If you’ve had a cold for the past three weeks, your body might be signaling to you that it needs more protein. This macronutrient plays a very crucial role in the proper functioning of your immune system, and a lack of it could compromise your ability to fight of infection. Protein malnutrition negatively affects the T-cell system (cells of the immune system), which results in increased susceptibility to harmful microscopic invaders.
You have ridges on your nails
Brittle nails or nails with a central groove can indicate a protein deficiency. The more there are and the deeper the ridges, the greater the deficiency might be.
No matter how much you sleep, you are always tired
Melatonin, the hormone responsible for making us sleepy, is produced by a building block of protein called tryptophan. An insufficient consumption of protein can lead to an insufficient production of tryptophan, and therefore of the crucial sleep hormone.
Your skin is puffy and swollen
Edema, or puffy and swollen skin, is a common symptom of kwashiorkor, a form of severe protein malnutrition. This is a very rare condition, and if it doesn’t occur in countries in which there is adequate access to protein sources, can be a sign of fad diets, abuse, or HIV.
Your wounds don’t heal
If your skin is taking forever to recover from a minor cut, you might not be producing enough platelets and/or white blood cells because of a protein deficiency.
Your muscles are sore well after your workout
If your arms are still sore from carrying the groceries into your apartment eight days ago, your body might have difficulty repairing muscle tissue because there is simply insufficient dietary protein in your system.
You are experiencing hair loss
When your body is deficient in protein, it allocates its limited sources to the areas of your body that truly require it. Because your hair is not one of those places, you might begin to lose some.