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Here's what happens if you're not getting enough protein

If you don't get enough protein, you might notice a change in your body’s functions. The tricky part is that the amount of protein needed varies on the individual, and it’s not always easy to measure how much we get.

Don't worry; I'm here to get you going in the right direction so you can balance your diet.

Why is protein so important?

Your body contains more than 10,000 proteins, which exist in every part of your body, from your hair to your bones. They repair damaged cells, which is critical for growth and development. Proteins comprise molecules called amino acids; your body needs 20 different amino acids to function correctly. It can produce 11 out of the 20, but the final nine come from the protein you eat. We call those essential amino acids because these molecules cannot be stored, meaning they need to be replenished regularly.

How much protein should you eat per day?

At least half of your body weight, so if a person weighs 150 lbs, they need about 75g. For anyone trying to gain muscle by strength training actively, it’s recommended 1lb per bodyweight, so if that same person who weighs 150 lbs wants to “tone” or gain muscle, they will need at least 150g.

Signs of a protein deficiency:

  • Brittle hair and nails

  • Weak, moody, hungry

  • Always tired

  • Getting sick often

  • Brain fog

  • Muscle weakness

  • Stress fractures

  • Puffy feet, ankles, or legs

How to get more protein:

A healthy and balanced diet provides all the amino acids your body needs, which means eating protein with every meal. Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids in equal amounts, so if you're plant-based, the most complete proteins for you will be:

  • Buckwheat

  • Hempseed

  • Quinoa

Easy ways to add complete proteins into your diet include switching rice for quinoa, edamame in salad, and Greek yogurt into smoothies. You can cook recipes with bone broth and try having a protein shake daily; use my code MORNINGJ and try Organifi's protein powder!

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