Many considerations must be taken as you age. From ensuring you are exercising correctly to ensuring you are eating right and also getting all the age-related medical screenings.
This is because as you age, your body composition changes. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the important role protein plays in maintaining their health as they age.
Body Composition And Protein
One of the most noteworthy body composition changes that occur as we age is the reduction in our total body protein.
This decrease of body protein is the cause of reduced skeletal muscle, as well as organ tissue, blood components, immune bodies and even a decrease in the total amount of potassium and water in the body.
These things contribute to the loss of skin elasticity, impaired wound healing, and difficulties in fighting off infection.
According to a study done by the Geriatric Research Education And Clinical Center in Little Rock Arkansas, protein tissue accounts for 30% of the whole body protein turnover, but that number decreases to twenty percent or less by the age of seventy.
Brain Function And Protein
As we age, our cognitive health often declines. While many people accept this as just being the way things are, research shows that adding protein to your diet can keep your brain functioning well and even prevent cognitive decline.
One study, done by the Department of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Health, and Nutrition, in Tokyo, Japan looked at people aged seventy to eighty-nine. The study showed that those with the highest protein intakes had a reduced risk of cognitive decline of twenty-one percent.
Protein Intake As You Age
As a person ages, there is less protein produced which means that a higher intake of protein is needed in the diet.
However, as we age we tend to eat less food for many reasons, whether it’s a lack of hunger or a lack of ability to access food. Too often, elderly people eat only one meal a day.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition looked at the eating habits of the young and the elderly and determined that many elderly people consume less than the daily recommended amount of protein. Of those who were consuming enough, the consumption tended to be at one meal.
Since the body can only absorb so much protein at a time, consuming it all at once means that your body isn’t going to be able to use all the protein you are eating.
This shows the importance of consuming protein-rich foods on a regular basis throughout the day to ensure you are getting as many of the benefits of your diet as possible.
Per the World Health Organization, the Reference Nutrient Intake for adults is 0.83 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
However, a study done by the Department of Geriatric Medicine, in Oldenburg, Germany shows that people above the age of fifty should consume 1.0 gram to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Since protein makes up ten to fifteen percent of the body’s energy needs, getting more will ensure that you will have the energy to continue living a healthy life as you age. Aging doesn’t have to mean accepting physical and mental decline.
Aging means that special considerations to diet and exercise need to be taken to ensure the body and mind can continue to function as they always have, and in some cases even better.
By ensuring that you are consuming protein throughout the day, you will increase your immune function, your memory, and your overall health.