The Power of Protein
Are you over 50? Is your strength and stamina on the decline?
You may be among the 40% of men and 55% of women who suffer from sarcopenia, the age-related loss of skeletal muscle. But what does that mean for you?
As you age, one of the most important things you can do to maintain your health is to preserve muscle mass. Surprised? Chris Kresser, a functional medicine practitioner, spoke at length with Dr. Gabrielle Lyon on the podcast ‘How Protein Supports your Muscle Health’. They discussed how muscle mass is tied to our longevity and vitality and a low protein intake is associated with frailty and worse physical function.
As we grow older, there is less of an anabolic response (think growth) and more of a catabolic response (less growth). This results in a decrease in muscle mass which can lead to muscle weakness and a decline in mobility. The risk of falls and fractures increases substantially. It sounds debilitating but it doesn’t need to be. Exercise and a protein-rich diet are both key. As we age, we need more protein than in our younger days. Protein helps us maintain good health and functionality. It not only helps us build muscle but also offsets inflammatory and degenerative conditions such as arthritis.
If taking the golf cart seems like an easier option or your tennis game suffering or the stairs in your house seem so much higher, then ensuring you are eating enough protein at every meal is vital.
If your goal is to maintain the active life you lead now well into your later years, then follow these PRIME TIPS to learn how:
PRIME TIP #1
The PROT-AGE Study Group recommends 1.0 – 1.2 g of protein per kilo of body per day. According to Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, a more optimal goal would be 1.6 – 2.2g per kilo of body weight. For a 59kg or 130lb woman, it would mean eating 94 – 129g of protein a day. For a 77kg or 150lb man, it would mean eating 123g – 169g of protein a day.
PRIME TIP #2
In order to get started, aim for 30g of protein per meal. This might look like:
- 3 eggs (21 g) and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (14g) for breakfast
- 1/2 a can of pink salmon (26g) on salad with 1oz of pumpkin seeds (5g) for lunch
- 4 ounce chicken breast (28g) with vegetables for dinner.
PRIME TIP #3
For those who are vegetarian or vegan, you must be more diligent at ensuring your meals contain good sources of plant based protein. Here are a few examples of the protein count in some popular vegetarian foods:
1 cup quinoa 8g
1 cup chickpeas 15g
4oz tofu 10g
1 cup baked beans 15g
1 cup tempeh 34g
1/4 cup cashews 5g
PRIME TIP #4
If getting enough protein in your diet is difficult, protein shakes can be an easy addition. Shakes are available from animal sources such as whey, egg and beef as well as a variety of vegetarian sources such as pea, hemp and rice. Buy the cleanest source of protein, naturally flavoured and sweetened (Stevia and Monk Fruit are popular) without additives and preservatives.