The Importance Of Proteins And How They Can Positively Affect Elder Care
As we age, most of us will lose muscle mass. This condition is called sarcopenia. Most people will lose up to half of their muscle mass as they grow older. Both men and women can lose muscle mass, but men tend to lose it faster than women. As people lose muscle mass, they may also experience issues with mobility. When people lose their mobility, it can lead to a loss of independence and older people can end up in a wheelchair or using a walker. One way to combat this loss of muscle mass is to eat more protein. This can reduce the amount of muscle lost and slow down the rate of loss.
The Role Of Protein In Combatting Muscle Loss
One of our body’s building blocks is protein. We need a certain amount of protein to develop strong bones and lean muscle. Protein can be found in all of our cells and is critical to maintaining healthy tissue and a strong body. Research has shown that you can reduce muscle loss by eating more protein. Researchers in one study found that participants who added protein to three daily meals lost less muscle mass. The study looked at 1,700 women and men between ages 67 and 84. The study lasted three years and during the study, all participants lost some muscle mass, however, those who ate protein throughout the day lost less muscle than other participants. Researchers believe these participants loss less muscle mass because they were spreading their protein consumption throughout the day.
The body uses protein to rebuild muscle. Our body’s muscle is continuously breaking down throughout the day. Eating protein several times a day allows the body to quickly rebuild muscle and helps prevent permanent muscle loss. Our body can maintain what is known as positive protein balance.
The Right Amount Of Protein Makes All The Difference
Older adults require more protein than younger people in order to prevent muscle loss. For adults over age 19, tor protein, the recommended daily allowance or RDA is .8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For older adults, the RDA for protein is 1 – 1.2 grams. Most seniors do not get enough protein throughout the day and often don’t even reach the lower recommended amount.
As we get older, some of us have trouble digesting certain types of protein. It can be more difficult to chew meat or we can develop an intolerance to lactose which makes it difficult to eat dairy. Also, many older adults are on a fixed income and may not be able to afford higher protein foods.