Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. For starters, protein is critical for every cell in our body. It helps build nails, hair, bones and muscles. It can also help you feel fuller longer than eating foods without protein.
✔Evidence indicates that protein intake greater than RDA can improve muscle mass, strength, and function in elderly.
✔Frailty is closely connected to decreased muscle mass and strength known as sarcopenia.
✔Not only do the older progressively lose muscle with age, but their physiology resists building new muscle.
✔Pair inactivity with low protein intake, and continued muscle loss with age is inevitable.
✔Animal sources of protein (highest quality) generally provide the most leucine, the essential amino acid that is key to synthesis of muscle tissue.
✔Whey protein has been found to be especially high in leucine. Read the protein powder labels!
✔Some experts believe equally distributing protein intake over three meals a day is as important as getting enough protein.
✔To help older (>65 years) people maintain and regain lean body mass and function, the PROT-AGE Study Group recommends a range of 1.0 to 1.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight= 45-70 grams pers day .
✔Sarcopenia is insidious but its progression may be accelerated by physical inactivity and poor nutrition.
✔Animal sources of protein (chicken, turkey, fish, beef, pork, shellfish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese) contain complete protein. Complete protein is necessary to build and repair muscle.
✔By combining foods from two or more plant categories in a meal, those foods compliment each other and provide all necessary amino acids to create complete protein. Example: serve cooked dried beans (legume) and rice (grain) together.
Ways to Increase Protein
Read the labels and learn to understand the numbers!
℗Make a high protein smoothie by blending, milk, nonfat dry milk, yogurt, and/or whey protein powder. Two tbsp. peanut butter will add an extra eight grams of protein.
℗Prepare custards, puddings, and quiches that are packed with protein from milk products and eggs.
℗Purchase whole grain breads with seeds to increase protein and fiber.
℗Prepare a hearty stew or soup with lean beef or turkey and add dried beans as well.
℗Eat ½ cup cottage cheese with fruit and/or yogurt, plus nuts if desired.
℗Consume Greek yogurt (more protein than regular) with 12 to 15 grams of protein per 3.5 oz. cup.