9 May, 2019
It is a well-known fact that the senior citizens need to have a balanced diet and that proteins should be included in the same. In many ways, it is more or less the same as how we suggest that growing kids need nutrients. But why do seniors need to eat protein, and what benefits do they gain from it? Also, how much protein is considered okay as in excess, even that may be harmful. These are the questions that we will try to address in this article today. In this case, reasons are more of protection and prevention of issues and diseases. We are what we eat, and food is a big part of what our body becomes as well as the diseases that we contract. Hence, it is essential to understand, what is good or not and why.
As we age, our bodies process the proteins less efficiently; hence, you need more of it to maintain bone health, muscle mass and strength, and even a few other essential physiological functions. However, it is also true that as we age, oral and dental issues, taste issues, issues with swallowing, etc. hamper our eating of proteins. Also, some diseases or the other may affect due to lack of immunity or even lifestyle issues. All these factors increase the risk of the muscles deteriorating, and can, in turn, to lead to compromised mobility for the seniors.
Research conducted on the subject concludes that seniors ate protein well as less likely to become immobile by as much as 30%, than those who did not eat it. Well, if that was not enough, another study on the subject says people did not consume enough protein were twice as likely to have difficulties with walking or climbing stairs, etc. With all the above, it appears that intake of sufficient protein as we keep aging, is a must, that can help prevent mobility issues and also keep us healthy.
Experts suggest that the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for seniors is 1-2 grams of protein per day, per kilogram of body weight. This looks sufficient to address the physical needs of the aging population and has been concluded after studies. Point to be noted is that it is based on body weight and hence, can change from person to person.
Note: High protein intake can also impair kidney functions and hence, it is best to check out and arrive at a decent diet that balances the protein intake across three meals. There are certain illnesses where doctors suggest the patients to strictly follow a dietician’s advice to maintain certain bodily parameters. In such cases, one such strictly follows the same. Especially with diabetes, heart issues, and blood pressure, any changes in intake of sugar, salt, potassium, etc., can cause havoc.
Older adults should try to include lean meats, fish and poultry, low-fat dairy products, nuts and beans, pulses, legumes, toned milk, egg whites, etc., apart from the regular intake of fresh veggies and fruits.
Egg whites repair worn out cells and tissues, and hence, it is an important source of proteins for the senior citizens. However, if you are vegetarian, you could instead opt for paneer made from low-fat milk as an equally good substitute.
We Indians are lucky in many ways as we usually have a lot of the variety in your food and most of us are used to eating three full, healthy meals in a day. Hence, care should be taken to incorporate the suggested proteins into the three meals, for variety as well as health reasons. This helps the aging seniors to keep up their muscle mass and also builds their immunity and keeps them healthy.
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