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Earth (Plant Based) Protein for Muscle Health

Choosing a natural earth plant-based diet is not radical in this day and age. The health benefits of going vegan or vegetarian are becoming more well-known among health and wellness advocates. Its influence has even reached athletes and muscle builders. Seniors, in fact benefit from choosing a natural earth plant-based diet as a way to combat sarcopenia, a phenomenon known as muscle loss which begins at age 40. Will they be able to get the same high-quality protein from plant sources to support strength? The answer is yes and today we will weigh the benefits of plant-based proteins and share the best food source options, including nutritional supplement options (e.g., Ensure Gold Plant Based).6, 7

Balancing Plant Protein and Meat Protein

There are around 20 different amino acids the body uses to build protein and support muscle health.1 It is the essential amino acids that a senior need from food and it is available from both plant based and animal proteins. Though a single source of meat is efficient at providing B vitamins, D vitamins, and Zinc for muscle protection compared to a single plant based protein source, eating other plant varieties also makes up for it.2, 3 Although there are studies that show too much meat can cause high cholesterol and strain the kidneys,1 eating it in moderation is still better that omitting it completely. An even better practice is incorporating plant-based proteins in a senior’s diet which comes with plenty of fiber, healthy starches, and water content to be more filling and lower in fat.3, 4

Transitioning to a Plant Based Diet

When going vegetarian, there are a few key nutrients to look out for. Along with plant-based protein foods, be sure to include vegetables, like kale and spinach, which are rich in calcium. Calcium is important for bone strength and healthier bones are able to produce healthier red blood cells for circulation that improves muscle quality.2, 4 Research which plant-based protein or other plant food sources have the most Vitamin B12. It is one of the most important vitamins to help process protein and fat to build muscles. Seniors need more than ever because with aging, the body also becomes less efficient at absorbing nutrients.1, 2, 5

Best Sources

Meat or plant-based protein, it is the quality of the protein in the source that matters. Here are examples of food items that can provide the best plant-based protein for seniors looking to find the balance between meat-based and plant-based proteins in their diet.

plant based protein - ensure gold

Soy and legumes –

Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soy products such as tofu, tempeh, plain soy beans, edamame (young green soybeans), soy milk have about 8g to 15g of protein per ½ cup.3, 4, 5

plant based protein - ensure gold

Whole grains & nuts –

Packed also with filling fibers and healthy carbohydrates, protein content of Quinoa is 8g/cup cooked, whole grain bread is 6g/slice, wild brown rice is 7g/cup cooked, almonds 6g/ounce.3, 4, 5

fruits & vegetables - ensure myanmar

Vegetables & Fruits –

Broccoli, spinach, asparagus, potatoes, sweet corn 5g/cup cooked; guava, mulberries, nectarines, bananas 2g to 4g per cup. These sources are also rich in Vitamin C, K, iron, potassium, antioxidants, and prebiotic fibers that feed good probiotic bacteria in the gut that support the immune system.4, 5

Supplements – Seniors who choose a plant-based diet have to make an effort to eat larger quantities and varieties of plants to target daily micronutrient requirements such as Vitamin B12, D, Iron, and Zinc. When it comes to milk options, seniors who follow a plant-based diet, are faced with a challenge of finding options.

That is why Ensure, the number 1 Nutritional Supplement Drink in the world^, has developed a new plant-based formula, Ensure Gold Plant Based. Made with protein from soy, rice, and quinoa, it comes with great almond taste. 6 scoops per serve with a meal restores appetite and strength in 8 weeks*. It is also lactose-free—a natural solution to seniors’ GI Issues—and contains Omega- 3 fatty acids that improve cell immunity function. Enriched with the best muscle preserving plant based HMB (Hydroxymethylbutyrate) plus 28 vitamins and minerals, a vegetarian diet senior can fully support their muscle health without having to consume meat-based alternatives.6, 7

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^Source Euromonitor international Limited; Consumer Health 2020 edition, per Supplement Nutrition Drinks category definition, retail value sales, RSP, 2019 data

*Edington J et al. Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;23(2):195-204.