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The Key To Staying Young: Understanding Why Protein Is Essential As We Age


Aging is something that everyone experiences, but how do we make sure that we stay healthy and fit as we age? This article will delve into the importance of protein in our diets as we age and explore why it should be a crucial part of our diet. Read on to learn more about the power of protein and how it can help us stay young.


Introduction

Muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. As we age, our bodies become less efficient at repairing and maintaining muscle tissue. However, this process can be slowed by ensuring we consume enough protein.


Protein is essential for numerous functions in the body, including cell repair and maintenance. It also plays a role in immunity and metabolism. As we age, we need more protein to maintain our muscle mass and prevent sarcopenia.


The recommended daily intake of protein increases with age. For adults over 50, the recommended intake is 0.55 grams per pound (1 gram per kilogram) of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds (68 kg) would need 82 grams of protein per day. This amount, of course, varies with how active an individual is. For example, a 50-year-old woman who weight trains five days a week and does cardio twice a week would need more protein than a 50-year-old woman who walks for exercise a couple of times per week.


There are many protein sources, including animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy; plant-based sources such as legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds; and soy-based products such as tofu and tempeh. Protein supplements are also available.


Although still a highly debated topic, many nutrition experts say it is essential to spread your protein intake throughout the day by eating several small meals or snacks rather than one large meal staing that it helps your body better absorb the protein you consume. In my opinion, it's more important to eat enough protein per day than to eat specific amounts at each meal. Since many people use intermittent fasting to control their calories today, the above point would not be relevant.


To ensure you're meeting your daily needs, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about incorporating more protein into your diet as you age.


Understanding the Significance of Protein in Aging

As we age, our bodies gradually lose muscle mass. This process, known as sarcopenia, can begin as early as age 30. By the time we reach our 60s and 70s, we may have lost up to half of our muscle mass.


Sarcopenia not only makes us weaker and less able to do the things we enjoy, but it also increases our risk of falls and fractures. In addition, sarcopenia is associated with several chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and frailty.


Protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass as we age. Eating adequate amounts of protein is also especially important during periods of physical inactivity or illness when muscle loss is accelerated.



Things to Consider When Choosing Protein Sources

When choosing protein sources, there are a few things to remember. First, consider the quality of the protein. Look for sources that are high in protein and low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Second, think about how the protein will be used. If you're looking to build muscle, choose sources that are rich in amino acids. Finally, consider your budget and lifestyle. Many affordable and convenient options are available, so find one that fits your needs.


Conclusion

With age, understanding the importance of protein to stay young is essential. Protein helps us maintain our muscle mass while also reducing inflammation and improving metabolism. Eating lean proteins such as fish, chicken, and Greek yogurt can provide you with all the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, adding in foods that are high in antioxidants, like blueberries or dark chocolate will help combat free radical damage (free radicals leads to aging faster). These few steps can help you stay young and look great for many years!

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