Benefits of Protein for Seniors

Pass the cheese, please! Current research studies are showing the benefits of protein for seniors, notably during times of stress, particularly when dealing with a chronic disease or acute illness, or getting ready for a surgical treatment or hospitalization, when protein is processed less efficiently. And even when seniors are healthy, protein is paramount to sustaining muscle strength and mass, healthy bones and much more.

Yet up to about 33% of all seniors are not eating sufficient quantities of protein, for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Taste impairments
  • Difficulties with swallowing
  • Financial limitations
  • Reduced appetite
  • Dental problems

And, the less active lifestyle that many older adults lead even further compounds the damaging impacts of insufficient protein consumption, such as:

  • Worsening mobility
  • Reduced muscle mass and strength
  • Lengthier recuperation times when ill
  • Eventual loss in independence

Fortunately, those who do eat recommended amounts of protein have a propensity to continue to maintain independent functionality with tasks such as getting dressed and attending to other personal hygiene needs, walking, and climbing stairs. According to Wayne Campbell, professor of nutrition science at Purdue University, “While eating an adequate amount of protein is not going to prevent age-associated loss of muscle altogether, not eating enough protein can be an exacerbating factor that causes older adults to lose muscle faster.”

The research claims that protein should ideally be obtained from natural food sources, instead of through protein shakes. Recommended protein levels are typically .8 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of body weight each day; so, for a 120-pound woman, that equates to 48 grams of protein/day. However, for anyone being confronted with the stressors cited above, the recommendation increases to 1.2 – 1.5 grams of protein per 2.2 pounds of body weight.

These protein-rich foods are superb choices:

  • Chicken (28 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)
  • Yogurt (18 grams of protein per 6-ounce serving)
  • Cottage cheese (14 grams of protein per ½-cup serving)
  • Lentils (9 grams of protein per cup)
  • Milk (8 grams of protein per cup)

Of course, it is advisable to inquire with the older adult’s doctor prior to making any dietary changes. Once a dietary plan is agreed upon, let Morning Glory Home Care, providers of elder care in Alton, IL and surrounding areas, support by planning and cooking nourishing, delicious meals, picking up groceries and making sure the kitchen is stocked with wholesome meal and snack choices, offering encouragement to maintain an engaged lifestyle, and so much more – all leading to improved health and wellness.

Call us any time at 618-667-8400 to ask about a complimentary in-home consultation with our professional care team and for more information about our expert elder care in Alton, IL and the surrounding communities.