Seniors and the importance of protein in their diet

There is no doubt that maintaining a well-balanced diet is an essential ingredient to overall health. Beyond ensuring you are finding the right foods to put in your shopping basket, a new study has discovered that distributing protein throughout the day is just as important.

Typically, seniors consume most of their protein during one meal, usually dinner. But researchers from McGill University have found that incorporating protein into each of your three meals a day has a significant impact on maintaining muscle strength.

The study followed 1,700 participants aged 67 to 84 for three years and monitored hand, arm, and leg strength annually. They found that those who consumed protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seemed to retain greater muscle strength than those who did not consume it more evenly. The study also concluded that male seniors saw an increase in mobility.

How much protein do you need?

Current recommendations suggest that an adult requires a minimum of 0.8 grams (g) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight – and depending on your lifestyle, some experts say seniors may require more. To determine your weight in kilograms, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2. Then multiply that number by 0.8 to find out your daily protein need. Of course, it is always important to speak with a dietitian to determine your specific needs.

How do I add more protein to my diet?

Adding protein to a meal could be as simple as a spoon full of peanut butter, a couple of slices of cheese, or a cup of yogurt. Other sources include meats, seafood, milk, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and tofu and soy. Not only are these good sources of protein they also help you meet your needs in terms of calcium, B12, and vitamin D.

So, next time you are planning your weekly meals, think about how you may be able to add a small helping of protein to keep those muscles strong and healthy. And then tell us how you add protein to your diet. We’d love to hear about your tips, recipes, or favourites dishes in the comments below!


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