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How a Protein-Rich Diet Helps Older Adults Remain Healthy

 

February Wellness Tip of the Month 

Protein is quite literally a powerhouse. Healthy protein helps build muscles and keep us strong. It can also reduce health problems by repairing damaged tissue and reducing sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Some studies even support the use of protein in promoting bone health and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Sadly, as we age, our muscle mass decreases by 0.5% - 2% every year after the age of 50. This increases our risk of developing a syndrome called "sarcopenia" or the loss of skeletal muscle mass.

To counteract this and ensure good health, make sure foods high in protein are part of your healthy eating habits every day. But what amount of protein should we should aim for?

Current studies suggest 1 – 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which means you should be consuming 63 – 76 grams of protein. But how do you know if you are eating that much per day? To help put it into perspective, let's look at a few healthy food options that will help us consume that much protein each day: 

 

Breakfast: 2 eggs equals 12g of protein and 1 cup of yogurt equals 12g of protein 

Lunch: ½ cup of canned tuna (drained) equals 22g of protein 

Dinner: 3 ounces of chicken breast equals 26g protein 

Total: 72g of protein 

 

As you can see, it is quite easy to reach the amount of protein needed each day.

If you do not feel like doing all of that math to figure out how much you need, a good rule of thumb is to make sure you are eating at least 5 ounces of meat-sourced protein per day.

While that does not seem like a lot, it does add up fast when you take into consideration all of the foods that have protein sources that we usually do not think of like yogurt, cottage cheese, pumpkin seeds, beans, and nuts like peanut butter.

Protein is a wonderful powerhouse of a macronutrient that helps stay healthy and strong!