If you’re suffering from one of these health niggles, you may need more of this body-boosting nutrient.

Hair loss

Shedding more strands than usual? Lack of protein might be to blame. According to nutritionist Cassandra Barns, your locks are the first things to suffer when your nutrient intake is low.

Long-lasting injuries

Protein helps your body heal, so if you’re taking longer to recover than usual, try adding protein-rich foods (such as nuts, eggs and lean meat) to the menu.

Mood swings

“Protein is broken down into amino acids, which make the feel-good hormone serotonin,” says Barns. Fail to nosh on enough protein, and you might be in a neg mood more often than not.

Poor immunity

Your body uses protein to protect itself from germs and to create bacteria-fighting antibodies. “If you’re coming down with more colds than usual, low protein intake may be why,” says Barns.

Puffy ankles

Protein regulates fluid in your blood vessels, Barns says: “When protein drops below a certain level, fluid isn’t drawn back into the blood vessels (from the tissues), which causes swelling.”

This story originally appeared in the May 2017 issue of Women’s Fitness. 

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