British researchers said eating more protein may reduce seniors’ risk of disability and help them remain independent longer. According to the findings published recently in the ‘Journal of the American Geriatrics Society,’ dietary protein slows the age-related loss of muscle mass, helping to preserve the ability of senior citizens to do everyday tasks. Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, lentils and other beans, nuts and tofu. Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. Proteins, which are an important component of every cell in the body, are essential nutrients for the human body.

Hair and nails are mostly made of protein and the body uses protein to build and repair tissues. Similarly, proteins are used to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. The principal author of the study, Nuno Mendonca, of Newcastle University, said: “Our findings support current thinking about increasing the recommended daily intake of protein to maintain active and healthy ageing.”

The researchers analysed data from more than 700 people in two United Kingdom (UK) cities who turned 85 in 2006. More than one-quarter (28 per cent) had protein intakes below the recommended dietary allowance. Following over five years of follow-up, the participants who ate more protein at the study’s start were less likely to become disabled than those who ate less protein, the study found. Older adults should eat about one gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight, Mendonca said, the Newsmaxhealth reported. That means someone weighing 160 pounds would require about 58 grams of protein a day. A 3.5-ounce serving of chicken contains about 31 grams of protein, he said.

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