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The Power of Protein: Why is it important?

A diet high in protein might often be associated with men and women building their muscles or athletes but did you know that protein-packed meals are all the more needed by the elderly? As a person grows older, his or her nutritional requirements change, thus the need to make lifestyle and dietary adjustments. The main reason is due to the decrease in a person’s muscle mass and unwanted bone loss which is a natural part of aging. This consequently results in a person’s mobility issues and an increased risk of injury. Senior adults need protein to maintain: muscle strength, agility, balance, resilience and overall strength.

How much protein do we really need?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and health agencies around the world, including the US Institute of Medicine and Health Canada, state that the daily protein requirement for adults are based on body weight. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds requires at least 55 grams of protein each day. Specifically, adults over the age of 20 should aim to get between 60 to 70 grams of protein every day. About 25 to 30 grams of high-quality protein per meal is important for optimal muscle protein synthesis. Note that a chicken breast contains about 30 grams, meanwhile a half-cup of Greek yogurt has about 15 grams.

The best protein sources

There exists a various range of healthy foods that contain a rich amount of protein. Animal protein sources, why typically provide high-quality protein content, include eggs, milk, lean meat, poultry, and fish. Meanwhile, plant protein sources include beans, soy, tofu, tempeh, legumes and nuts. Getting a good balance of these protein sources will help one feel full, thus managing weight, also lower blood pressure, and improve heart health. Additionally, protein from plant sources more than red meat also have shown to aid decrease one’s risk of getting a heart disease.