As we grow older, our bodies change and so do our nutritional needs, maintaining a balanced and nutrient-rich diet becomes increasingly important for overall health and well-being.
As part of a balanced diet, protein becomes increasingly important as it supports good health, immunity and muscle strength.
Excellent sources of protein include: lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
One of the primary reasons protein is crucial for older people’s diet is its role in combating sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength. As we grow older, our bodies undergo changes that lead to reduction of protein synthesis and muscle breakdown. Eating enough protein becomes paramount in preserving muscle mass and strength, thereby promoting physical function and mobility.
Strong muscles are instrumental in maintaining independence in daily activities, enhancing balance, and reducing the risk of falls and fractures.
In addition to its impact on muscle health, protein is essential for supporting bone health, which becomes significant as bone density tends to decrease as we age. Consuming enough protein, especially when combined with other bone-supporting nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D, helps maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Protein also provides the necessary building blocks for tissue repair and wound healing, facilitating a faster and more effective recovery process.
Practical ways to eat enough protein:
- Include an excellent source of protein at every meal.
- Drink high protein beverages such as milk or milk alternatives.
- Snack on protein rich foods throughout the days such as nuts, cheese, yogurt, custard etc.
- Make foods with milk instead of water for example porridge and soups.
- Add skim milk powder to milkshakes, custards etc.
By prioritizing protein-rich foods as part of a well-balanced diet, you can maximise your overall well-being, enjoy increased independence, and lead active and fulfilling lives.
**Always speak to your doctor or dietitian before changing your diet.
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