New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Protein is one of the most important nutrients which is needed for the healthy functioning of our body. Often the role of this nutrient is usually misunderstood and is associated just with muscle gain but that's not all, Protein has multiple health benefits and it affects your body's functioning in many ways right from controlling metabolism to muscle synthesis. This building block of our body should be an essential part of our diet as the deficiency can lead to lower immunity which can be a risk in COVID-19 pandemic. 

Protein deficiency and COVID-19

Protein deficiency is related to impaired immunity which happens majorly because of its adverse effects on both, the amount of functional immunoglobulins and gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT). This is directly linked to COVID-19 risk as lower the immunity higher are the chances of a person to contract the virus. It's not only important to consume protein but also equally necessary to pick the right quantity and quality of proteins in order to keep the immune system intact. For example, proteins of high biological value (those present in eggs, lean meat, fish, and dairy) containing all the essential amino acids may exert an anti-inflammatory effect.

Some amino acids found in protein, such as arginine and glutamine are important to stimulate the immune system. Therefore, if your body is deficient of protein, then these are the problems that can be spotted:

Weight Gain or difficulty in losing fat

Have you been working out relentlessly, eating clean and still not seeing a visible difference in your fat loss journey? You need protein. When you don't consume enough protein, your body cannot repair the muscles properly, which eventually leads to the loss of those hard-earned muscles instead of burning fat. Low protein intake can also dip your energy levels marginally, so make sure you are loaded up!

Mood Swings

Low protein intake is also linked with unstable moods, irritability and brain fog. Protein is crucial for synthesising a variety of hormones and neurotransmitters responsible for our mood. Such as serotonin, the hormone which makes one feel safe and happy. Missing out on protein can therefore cause fluctuations in one's mood.

Weird and untimely cravings

Our body requires specific nutrients to be up and running whenever we need to hustle. When you provide inadequate protein, it causes your blood sugar levels to drop, which causes your body to trigger cravings for a quick fix. Consume protein-rich foods to make sure that your blood sugar levels are stable.

Lack of bone strength

Calcium is essential for skeletal integrity, but did you know that 50 per cent of our bones are protein in terms of volume. Along with vitamin D and Calcium, dietary protein is crucial for bone health and longevity. Protein plays a huge role in preserving bone density with ageing.

Skin, hair and nail problems

Your skin, hair and nails are primarily made of protein, and so naturally, a deficiency in protein would reflect on them too. Severe protein deficiency may even cause redness, flaky skin and depigmentation. It may also cause hair thinning, fading, hair loss and brittle nails. Edema, which leads to puffy and swollen skin, is another classic symptom of protein deficiencies.

How much protein should one consume?

A safe thumb rule is to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight (i.e.If you weigh 60 kgs, your ideal protein intake goal is between 60 and 90 grams per day). Consume protein from natural sources like meat, eggs, fish, dairy, legumes, soy, and if you cannot meet your goal intake, then invest in protein supplements like whey protein, vegan protein powder and BCAAs.

(Disclaimer: The article is purely informative based on the researches and several studies. English Jagran does not independently vouch for this report. Prior consultation with a doctor is advisable before COVID-19 vaccination.)

With inputs from IANS.

Posted By: Sanyukta Baijal