Healthy Aging - All About Protein!

Today’s Wisdom Wednesday is all about

PROTEIN

Combining the information in this week's post, with last week's post, regarding body weight exercises and you will be well on your way to healthy aging!

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Why should we care about protein??

  • It is a component of every cell in your body.  In fact, hair and nails are mostly made of protein
  • Your body uses protein to build and repair tissue & muscles
  • You need protein to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals
  • It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood

Like carbohydrates and fat, protein is a “macronutrient”, meaning that you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. (Vitamins and minerals, which we need in smaller quantities, are called “micronutrients”.

Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it does not have a reservoir to draw from when you’re running low.

Protein comes in a variety of sources, including meat, milk, fish, soy, eggs, beans, legumes and nuts & seeds.  When proteins are digested, they breakdown into amino acids, which the human body needs to perform the activities above.

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Why should I worry if I’m getting enough protein?!

People start losing muscle mass and strength in their 30s!!  So by the time we are thinking about retirement, we have lost a lot of muscle!  The good news is, Canadian Scientists have been working on a way to combat this issue as we age and have developed a protein supplement - that in combination with exercise - can repair muscle loss.

The results, surprised even the researchers.  Over the course of 6 weeks, participants (aged 65 and older) consumed a protein shake, which they added to their regular exercise regime (at least 3 days a week of body weight and strength training exercises.  In the course of 6 weeks, participants were able to gain 700g of lean muscles mass, which is exciting because this is approximately the amount that is lost each year with aging!

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Not only can increasing your protein content help with aging, but it also helps with:

  • Speeding up recovery after exercise
  • Building lean muscle
  • Helping your maintain a healthy weight
  • Curbing hunger

 

Protein comes from many different sources, not just from meat. 

Some examples are:

  • Greek Yogurt

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Swiss Cheese

  • Eggs

  • 2% Milk

  • Protein Powder

  • Navy Beans

  • Lentils

  • Peanut Butter

  • Mixed Nuts

  • Green Peas

  • Quinoa

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Test out an app like My Fitness Pal or Livestrong’s MyPlate to see how much protein your are roughly consuming a day.  Try to aim for at least 65g of protein a day from a variety of sources and then slowly increase this amount as you increase your activity levels.