If you follow senior health news, then you’re probably aware bone density can decrease rapidly for adults over 50. This is just one of the many physical changes faced by seniors, and there is new data emerging that suggests many seniors also suffer from protein deficiencies. It’s common for seniors to lose as much as 50 percent of their muscle due to a process called Sarcopenia. Now, however, several research studies have shown that older adults often struggle to combat this muscle loss properly by replacing protein.
Protein is critical for muscle health and development throughout life, but it can be especially critical for seniors. The natural decreases in muscle mass and strength that come with aging can lead to significant decreases in quality of life if not properly manage with diet and exercise. This lower muscle mass and strength can then lead to broken bones due to falls and overall fatigue during vital physical activities.
And while protein intake is critical for seniors, it’s also common for seniors to experience decreased appetite levels as their energy needs evolve. Fortunately, there are many excellent options open to seniors who want to maintain healthy levels of protein while also meeting their dietary needs and preferences.
Protein Loss Making Senior Health News
A study carried through Ohio State University in 2018 followed 2,900 seniors over 23 years and found that less than one-third consume adequate levels of protein. The seniors in the study reported a mix of reasons for drastically decreasing their protein intake including lower appetite, financial constraints, dental issues, altered taste palates, and challenges swallowing. Those who did not consume ample levels of protein were also more likely to lead a more sedentary lifestyle and have a harder time recovering from falls and injuries.
These findings have caused a ripple in senior health news as they align with previous findings from a 2017 study from Tufts University’s USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. That study followed around 2,000 seniors and found that those who consumed the least protein were twice as likely to develop mobility problems compared with those who ate the most protein.
What’s the Right Amount Of Protein for Seniors?
If these updates in senior health news have you interested in increasing your daily protein intake, then the first thing you’ll need to know is how much protein is right for. Fortunately, doctors and researchers have developed a simple guideline known as the recommended daily allowance or RDA. This recommendation suggests that seniors should consume 0.8 grams of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. This means that for an average man of 180 pounds, about 65 grams of protein meets the RDA standard.
Everyday Protein Options
When you’re making a plan to increase the amount of protein in your diet, intake frequency is just as important as the amount. There is some dispute amongst experts, but the prevailing wisdom is that it can be critical to spread your protein consumption out evenly over three meals throughout a day. By spreading protein out as opposed to cramming it all in one meal, you may be able to provide a healthy distribution of amino acids to the muscles throughout your day. A good rule of thumb would be to consider trying for at least 30 grams of protein with every meal.
Some suggestions would be one egg with breakfast or a chicken sausage link with salad during lunch. Breakfast can be an easy time to neglect protein consumption, as many seniors tend to feel less hungry in the morning. And while it may be convenient to fall back on a routine of coffee and baked goods, starting the day with protein is critical to ensuring long-term muscle health and overall fitness for seniors.