Change is a constant factor for all living things, and humans are no exception. As people age, they can expect to experience certain physical changes. While genetics play a role in the rate and severity of these changes, life choices can also have a significant impact. For proof, simply consider the matter of dietary protein and aging. Although aging adults may require greater quantities of protein to enjoy the many benefits of this nutrient, getting sufficient dietary protein is worth it. That’s because protein, especially when teamed with age-appropriate exercise, can help to fend off the loss of muscle and bone density that can leave seniors weak, frail, and vulnerable to injury. Simply put, consuming the right amount of protein can help seniors remain healthy, independent, and ready to enjoy fuller, more active lifestyles.
Dietary Protein and Aging Well
In “Role of Dietary Protein and Muscular Fitness on Longevity and Aging,” a review appearing in Aging and Disease, the official journal of the International Society on Aging and Disease, the authors make it clear that dietary protein is of vital importance to anyone concerned with maintaining their wellness as they age. What makes protein so important?
Protein as a Building Block
Protein is a macronutrient that the human body uses to fuel a wide range of crucial tasks. A critical building block that is found in every cell in the body, protein is used to build and repair muscle, bone, skin, and other tissues and to produce various body chemicals like enzymes and hormones. Protein also helps to regulate metabolism and support the effective function of the immune system. No matter how old you are, if you want to be healthy, you should make consuming sufficient protein a priority.
When More Protein Is Better
While people of all ages require protein to maintain a healthy lifestyle, more protein is better for older adults. There are multiple reasons for this. The first is sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle as part of the normal aging process. As people gain years, they tend to lose muscle mass, which can result in a slower metabolism, weakness, disability, and a reduced ability to function independently. Then, there’s anabolic resistance. Throughout a human’s lifespan, the body continually breaks down and rebuilds muscle tissue, but as people age, their ability to increase the rate of muscle building falters, a phenomenon referred to as anabolic resistance.
Together, sarcopenia and anabolic resistance produce a double whammy. As the years go by, the body is increasingly prone to losing muscle mass and increasingly challenged when it attempts to add muscle. That’s why getting more protein is important for older adults. With the body facing these additional obstacles, it needs more of this crucial nutrient to succeed in maintaining its muscles and other tissues.
The Exercise Effect
As anyone who has ever longed for bigger muscles knows, protein alone is not enough to build muscle. Exercise is a key component of any healthy lifestyle, and it also plays a part in capitalizing on the benefits of dietary protein and aging well. Researchers have discovered that combining sufficient protein consumption with a regular routine of resistance and endurance exercises seems to help counteract the challenges posed by anabolic resistance, making it easier for the body to rebuild and maintain its muscle mass and slowing age-related muscle loss. While eating right and staying active may not stop the clock on aging, making the choice to get enough protein and exercise may help aging adults to stay stronger, healthier, and more independent for longer.
Getting More Protein
Getting more protein is incredibly easy to do because so many sources are available. Poultry is an excellent source of protein that is low in saturated fats. Plus, it contains all nine essential amino acids, numerous nutrients, and little cholesterol and sodium. Fish is another low-fat option that has the additional benefit of providing heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt can deliver protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Beans and whole grains are both rich in protein and full of fiber. And when you’re on the go, nuts are easy to pack for a nutritious, protein-packed snack.
What about protein supplements? If you’re worried about getting enough protein, products like protein powders can be a fantastic addition to your wellness toolbox. A quality protein powder offers incredible flexibility that makes sourcing the protein your body craves simple. These products can be mixed with water or milk for a tasty smoothie or shake. Alternately, they can be added to the recipes of your favorite dishes to created protein-enriched foods that are as delicious as ever.
If you’re looking to add more protein to your diet, try CHiKPRO®, a nutritious chicken protein isolate powder. Versatile and easy to use, this high-quality and highly efficient protein supplement contains 25 grams of protein in each 30-gram scoop! Plus, you can use it in pizza, waffles, smoothies, frittatas, and many more delicious recipes. It is non-allergenic, dairy-free, and gluten-free. CHiKPRO® also features in MEAT-SNX™ Chicken Protein Snack Mix, which comes in several different flavors, including Sweet BBQ, Cheese Pizza, and Cinnamon Bun. To learn more, please visit the CHiKPRO® website.