Helpful Information

THE VALUE OF PROTEIN IN A SENIOR’S DIET


Often, when we think of diets, we think of it in terms of a fitness program for young people. However, what you end up eating is important regardless of your age. In fact, focus on what you eat becomes more important as you get older. A good diet will help keep your weight at an acceptable range and give you the right nutrients.

As our bodies age, there are different changes that take place. Bone density reduces, digestion is slower due to reduction in certain enzyme levels and there is even muscle loss which makes the individual weaker and frailer. A good diet is needed to address these issues. One way to do so is to increase protein intake.

Why increase protein intake?

As stated earlier, aging leads to muscle decrease. Eating sufficient protein amounts will help slow down this process. Working out is important, but when doing so, our muscles get micro tears due to the resistance caused by weights and the strain the body is put through. Protein helps build and repair muscles.

Protein is also important when it comes to the healing of wounds. The longer a wound may stay open the higher the chances of infection. A diet with sufficient protein helps in increasing the self-healing properties of the body.

Aging leads to loss of bone density. This can lead to more fragility in the individual and thus increase the chances of fractures and broken bones. Protein helps reduce the process. Also, since protein also helps in building muscle, this helps protect the bones by reducing the stress amounts the bones receive during regular activities and workouts.

Finally, there are some psychological benefits. By helping the individual become more energetic and active, proteins contribute to a better state of mind. The individual is more likely to engage with others and be more outgoing as opposed to being more lethargic and keeping to themselves.

Where can one get more protein?

One good source of protein is lean meat. Animal products such as chicken, fish, beef and pork are good sources of protein. Since there are so many options in this category, the choice of what to take and how to take it is really up to the individual. It is advised however that the individual reduces the fat levels.

Eggs are also a good source of protein. The eggs can be boiled, scrambled or fried. Contrary to popular belief, it is not advised to eat them raw. Also, if the individual has got high cholesterol levels, they should not take them more than thrice weekly.

You can also get proteins from low fat dairy products such as cheese and yoghurt. Beans and nuts are also a good source. You can get this by simply spreading peanut butter on your toast and adding beans to your diet.

One final word

While proteins are fantastic, intake should be measured. Too much protein in the diet can be detrimental. A balance between the other food groups is important. It is good to consult your doctor for advice on how much you should take.