We have always learnt that proteins are the building blocks of life. It is one of the fundamental components of almost everything in our body — hair, nails, skin, muscles, bones, and cartilage. Adequate protein intake is also required to compensate for the wear and tear of the body — to replace damaged cells and regenerate new ones. However, it is seen that women do not eat enough protein.
Also, researchers have found a link between the intake of protein and menstrual cycle. One-third of women experience extreme menstrual bleeding – losing throughout more than 80 millilitres of blood – at least once in their lives. Individual anatomical variations are frequently blamed for the low levels of a protein. A physical cause can sometimes be an identified-for example, fibroids and endometriosis can both trigger excessive menstrual bleeding. But now there is evidence that a protein is involved.
But Periods may make women aversive to foods, but for others, it may be a time when the cravings of food get stronger. As the levels of oestrogen and progesterone drop, mood swings set in followed by other niggles of the time. There is also a little improvement in the levels of blood sugar that can be responsible for cravings and a rise in appetite.
These junk foods we usually crave are high in carbohydrate and sugar, however. So, as they break down within the body, they do pep up the mood and provide immediate energy, but this energy rush is short-lived. Soon, you too, will feel more hungry and tired. That is why some protein-rich foods must be included in the diet during periods.
Proteins make it easier to cope with fluctuating amounts of blood sugar, as it helps to consume glucose gradually in the body. Fibre has a similar impact too. That is why eating protein and fibre helps to keep the level of blood sugar in check and gives a menstruating woman constant energy.
Also, women should be aware of signals that the body sends when one is protein deficient and immediately attend to it.
If you are constantly feeling tired – When you are cramping, feeling tired and getting sore on a regular basis, your body can need more protein. Protein provides strength as we know i and promotes muscle development. Protein shortages in your diet can cause muscle wasting and reduced muscle strength. The tissues of our body need amino acids (the protein building blocks) for growth and maintenance. And if you don’t supply enough protein from food to your tissues, your body has no other option but to start breaking down your muscles to recover amino acids from them. You cannot eat enough protein if you find the collar bone being more prominent.
If you crave too much sugar – You do not always need to equate cravings with pregnancy! They are the way the body tells you what it wants. If you eat sweets, this is a sign that your body has low protein content. If you think a deficit in proteins will cause a craving for any meat or eggs, you’ve got it wrong. Like carbohydrates, proteins are digested gradually by the body. So, if you end up eating meals full of carbs and less protein, the body quickly absorbs the carbs causing a spike in sugar levels, and then fall off. The constant rise and decrease in blood sugar levels is dangerous causing you to eat sweets to relieve levels of sugar. So, eating proteins with carbs is ideal so that the food digests slowly maintaining blood sugar levels.
If you are stressed, forgetful, confused and lack mental focus – Brain fog is a term that has been used to describe some of those bad days when we are lost, overlooked and lose mental attention. Stress and lack of sleep can cause brain fog, but it does have something to do with it. Protein shortages and fluctuating levels of blood sugar leave the brain dazzled with little capacity to burn. Pack your food in proteins, so energy is released gradually and steadily. Munching alone on carbs only provides short energy bursts, and then leaves your brain in a ‘fog.’
You don’t like how you look – When your hair falls off, your nails split, and your skin looks dry and patchy, you ‘d not feel good about it. Collagen, skin tissue, is composed of fibrous proteins. The body lacks collagen while on a low-protein diet for an extended period, causing the skin to sag and lose its shine. As for our hair, a low protein diet contributes to broken, incredibly thin brittle hair. Nails that do not quickly develop back are also a symptom of protein deficiency. Lack of protein in the diet is one of the most common causes of hair loss in women. Hair follicles are made of keratin protein.
If you have an irregular menstrual cycle – Although abnormal menstrual cycles are typically associated with hormonal imbalances, a protein deficiency may also be suggested. Foods rich in proteins not only regulate periods but also foster fertility. A poor diet can trigger high cortisol levels, a hormone that is produced by the adrenal gland. During a long period, excess cortisol interferes with the role of essential hormones and causes degradation of bones, skin, muscles, and brain tissue. This may also cause protein degradation, leading to muscle wastage and even osteoporosis in women.
With those intolerable cramps and aches, when the body has to go through the strains of putting up with the churning of the uterine lining, it’s only natural that you eat right so that your energy levels don’t fail. Instead of hunger, try to prepare your diet in a way that helps you to get some protein in some way or the other.
One of the best ways to consume protein easily is by having protein shakes. Having it not only gives the necessary nutrients to the body but also satisfies the cravings. So, protein shakes and menstrual cycle is a good combo which not only meets the cravings but also is healthy.