Importance of Increasing Protein As We Age
✔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.