Released by Home Care Assistance Corporation; March 5, 2020
When you hear high protein diet do you think of bodybuilders? Men and women with large arm, chest and leg muscles? Bodybuilders need high amounts of protein because they build muscle.
But a high protein diet is important for seniors, too. No matter your age or level of fitness, you also need protein. Your body relies on protein to function. Seniors especially need a high protein diet to maintain:
- Overall health
- Muscle strength
- Balance, agility and resilience
Why do Seniors Need a High Protein Diet?
Protein is one of the foundational nutrients that make up your body. Every cell in your body relies on protein to function including:
- Internal organs
Protein is essential for healing, building and repairing cells and body tissue. You need protein to:
- Heal from injuries
- Keep your fluid levels in balance
- Recover from surgery or illness
- Maintain healthy vision
- Balance your hormones and digestive enzymes
Without protein, your body starts to break down muscle mass and bone strength. Research has found that seniors are not able to use protein as easily as younger people, so their bodies may need more protein to meet its needs.
A diet high in protein can protect you from losing muscle, and muscle is important because you require the use of your muscles for everything you do.
Strong bones and muscles allow you to get out of a chair, walk to the store, do yard work, go dancing, or play with your grandchildren. Even simple tasks like pulling on your socks and getting out of the shower are made easier by healthy and strong muscles.
As we age, it is normal to lose muscle mass, but a loss of strength can also cause you to fall. You may also be more susceptible to illness and injury.
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that seniors were not getting enough protein, with 6% of men over 71 and 4-6% of women over 50 not getting the recommended amounts of protein.