Are you eating enough protein? Protein is a vital nutrient for seniors concerned with muscle health and a healthy, active lifestyle. How much protein do seniors need to include in their diets?
How Much Protein Do Seniors Need?
People often have unique nutritional needs as they enter their golden years. For example, most of us are already aware that seniors should increase their fiber intake as they grow older. However, fiber is not the only nutrient seniors should keep an eye on. Protein is another essential nutrient for senior health. How much protein do seniors need, and how can you ensure you get enough in your diet?
Why Do Seniors Need to Eat More Protein?
Unfortunately, protein deficiencies are a common problem in senior diets. Senior health experts estimate that up to one in three seniors aren’t getting enough protein in their daily meals. Missing out on protein can lead to health difficulties and other problems that most seniors would prefer to avoid:
- Typical seniors are at risk for protein deficiencies due to common senior food issues like reduced appetites and difficulty swallowing and chewing comfortably. Being proactive about protein can help!
- Seniors managing health issues or recovering from them need plenty of protein to help them recover. Research demonstrates that a lack of protein can hamper a smooth recovery, leading to more prolonged illnesses and recovery times.
- Getting enough protein is also essential for seniors who want to preserve mobility and independence. Seniors who eat more protein than average help their bodies protect muscle mass and function. Research demonstrates that the more protein seniors eat, the more likely they are to retain comfort and mobility in their golden years.
How Can I Get All the Protein I Need?
You can use the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Recommended Daily Allowance for seniors to determine how much protein you need. Seniors should consume .8 grams of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. Your current weight and some quick math can give you a good daily goal. Once you know how much protein you need, it’s a simple matter of adjusting your diet to accommodate for it:
- Seniors often skip protein at breakfast due to a limited appetite. Ensure protein is on your breakfast plate with Greek yogurt, bacon, or sausage.
- Yes, bacon and red meat are okay in moderation, as are all other forms of protein. Animal protein includes amino acids that your body needs, which can help further balance your diet. Talk to your doctor about what kinds of protein are best for your health and nutritional needs.
- Spread your protein consumption throughout the day to get the protein you need without straining your appetite. Focus on snacks that provide protein, like cottage cheese and mixed nuts, and be sure there’s at least a little protein on your plate at every meal.
- Protein supplements can help, but don’t overdo them. Protein shakes should not be used as daily meal replacements, as they can’t consistently provide the balanced nutrition needed for senior diets. If you find yourself relying on them, talk to your doctor about balancing your diet.
How much protein do seniors need? It depends on your health and diet, so consider talking to your doctor for more personalized advice. And if you’re looking for a community that puts your dietary health first, you’ll love the food at Hearthside Senior Living.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour to explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!