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Proteins: Retention of Muscle Mass and Strength

A generation or so ago “middle age” meant you were forty with golf and curling serving as appropriate sports; back then “old age” began at sixty-five when you were officially branded a senior citizen and a brisk walk (although healthy) was as good as it gets. Thankfully, “The times they are a changin'".

Usher in master’s categories for endurance events and “old folks” homes being rebranded as active living residences. It’s no secret that healthy aging is directly related to physical fitness and retention of muscle mass, all you need is adequate protein to complete the equation.

The actual daily protein requirements for seniors is unsettled; however, according to literature published by Harvard Medical School, daily protein consumption for adults should be approximately 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. This translates to about 58 grams of protein for a 160-pound person.

Joint research spearheaded by the McGill University School of Nutrition discovered the importance of balanced protein consumption throughout the day. Their three-year study of successful ageing called NuAge involved 827 men and 914 women between the ages of 67 and 84. Results published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed participants with reduced protein intake at breakfast had less muscle strength than those with balanced protein consumption throughout the day. Muscle repair and growth is a dynamic process and readily available protein is critical.

According to Bill Evans, professor of Human Nutrition at University of California, Berkeley, a pioneer in the science of age related muscle loss (sarcopenia) ; quenching muscles with protein up to 40 minutes post workout can exert a great effect at stimulating muscle growth. Here’s an idea, why not include adequate protein with every meal, maintain an active lifestyle with some strength training and reward fitness initiatives with some bonus protein!

Let’s examine the protein content of several foods. Four-ounce portions of shrimp, lean beef and chicken contain approximately 27, 29 and 36 grams of protein respectively. Two hard-boiled eggs come in at about 13 grams; not bad for fifty cents! A vegan friendly fistful (23) of almonds measures in at about 6 grams of protein,and non-hydrogenated, natural peanut butter contains 9 calories of protein per two tablespoon serving.

If you prefer the convenience of powdered protein supplements, certified organic Pumpkin and Lupine protein powders are great alternatives to bulky whey protein supplements. A premium quality grass-fed beef bone broth works well with up to 27 grams of protein per 3 tablespoon serving. It makes a relaxing hot beverage that can also curb post workout carbohydrate cravings.

Protein ranks second only to water for abundance in our cells. It makes sense to fuel your active lifestyle with enough protein to be powerful, agile, independent and happy for years to come.


Gordon Raza, BSc

As the technical writer for Flourish, Gord shares his
unique perspective on natural health products, nutrition,
and active living.