Protein for Healthy Muscles

MediLodge Protein

Sources of protein include eggs, meat and cheese.

Loss of muscle mass, or sarcopenia, is estimated to occur at a rate of 5 percent per year after age 30. Over the years this small but continued loss can be a major contributing factor of debility among seniors. With the loss of muscle mass, incidents of falls and fractures increase. Reduced physical strength, slowed tissue repair and limited mobility also occur. Eating adequate protein is one way to help keep protein stores in the body at healthy levels and reduce the progressive loss of muscle mass with age.

Older adults may face challenges to eating the protein they need such as poor fitting dentures, limited incomes or reduced access to prepared, healthy meals. Even when sources of protein are available, conditions such as decreased appetites and decreased digestion and absorption of protein in the gastrointestinal system may make getting the optimum amount of protein difficult.

Current recommendations for older adults are 25 to 30 grams of high quality protein per meal. This could be 2 to 3 ounces of meat and a cup of milk. Lean meats, egg whites and low fat dairy foods are good sources of protein with limited saturated fats. Lean red meat such as eye of round can be more healthful than white meats that are prepared with extra breading and fat, like chicken nuggets.

Plant-based sources can provide adequate amounts of protein as well, but they must be consumed in larger amounts. If diverticulitis isn’t a concern, nuts provide protein and have the extra benefit of heart healthy fats for extra calories to prevent weight loss. Eating 1.5 ounces of nuts per day as part of a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.

Whatever your protein preference, movement is also important in maintaining muscle mass. Regular exercise and a well balanced diet with adequate protein is a winning combination for stronger muscles and good health.

Kathleen E. Kadau, RD

MediLodge of Taylor

For more information on The MediLodge Group, visit our website, find us on Facebook or tune in to our YouTube Channel.

MediLodge of Taylor

MediLodge of Taylor




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