Protein deficiency occurs when you are not taking enough protein from your foods to meet your protein requirements. Children in most parts of South Asia and Central Africa are suffering from protein deficiency.
Let’s take a look at some of the main signs and symptoms of protein deficiency.
One of the severe forms of protein deficiency is known as kwashiorkor and fatty liver is a main symptom of this condition. It is an accumulation of fat in the liver cells. It is important to seek treatment for this condition immediately because it may lead to fatty liver disease and potential liver failure.
One other major symptom of kwashiorkor is edema, which is caused by the low amount of human serum albumin. It is the most abundant protein in the blood plasma. Protein deficiency can lead to lower oncotic pressure, which will result in the accumulation of fluid in tissue and causes swelling. Since edema is caused by severe protein deficiency, it is not very common in people living in developed countries.
Loss Of Muscle Mass
The body will start to take protein from your skeletal muscles when the supply of dietary protein is cut short. This may eventually lead to the loss of muscle mass over time. Studies have proven that a lower intake of dietary protein will cause muscle loss in seniors.
Risk Of Bone Fractures
Just like muscles, bones are also affected by the deficiency of protein. Without adequate intake of protein, your bones are at higher risk of fractures. A study looked at postmenopausal women and found that increased protein intake reduces the risk of bone fractures by around 69%.
How To Prevent Protein Deficiency?
The best way to prevent protein deficiency is by increasing the consumption of foods that are rich in protein. If you are following a plant-based meal plan, you cannot consume protein from an animal source. There are several plant-based foods that can provide an adequate amount of protein to ensure the prevention of several chronic diseases.
Soy products, such as tofu, tempeh, etc. are good plant-based sources of protein. Other plant-based foods that contain a high amount of protein include almonds, chickpeas, peanuts, quinoa, etc. Half a cup of almonds contains 16.5 grams of protein. Also, 20.5 grams of protein is present in half a cup of peanuts.