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The importance of protein in our diet

We know that staying active is becoming even more important after 50 and many of us are taking up new hobbies like cycling or hiking. In addition, you may be making changes to your diet and looking for healthier options. Did you know that both exercise and protein can help to maintain muscle mass to help keep you active? Protein is a key nutrient in everyone’s diet. Here are the key things you need to know about protein and, most importantly, how you can get the right amount in your diet.

Protein after 50

It’s true that protein is a fundamental building block to everyone’s diet. Every cell in the human body needs proteins to repair and produce new cells. This includes our muscles.

However, as you age, protein becomes even more important. Not only may you need more of it to support your bones and muscles but you may unknowingly begin to consume less protein due to decreased appetite, changes to smell and taste and changes in your cooking habits.

How to ensure an adequate protein intake

There are many ways you can ensure you’re equipping your body with the appropriate amount of protein and helping support an active life.

In order to maintain muscle mass after 50, experts recommend a protein intake of 1 to1.2 grams per kilo of body weight. But how can I do this? It’s not as difficult as it sounds.

So for a person of 70kg this means you would need about 84g of protein a day.  

Some examples of good protein food choices and suitable portion sizes are as follows:

  • 60g-90g Cooked meat (beef/pork/ lamb/mince/chicken/turkey).  This is the size of a deck of cards
  • 140g Cooked white fish (cod or plaice) or canned fish.  This is the size of the palm of your hand
  • 2 eggs

Contrary to popular belief, protein is not only found in animal products, although meats, milk, seafood and eggs do have high levels. However, it is recommended to vary your sources in order to obtain a balanced diet; you might not know that you can also find protein in soybeans, vegetables, nut and seeds and certain grains like quinoa.

Plant protein food sources include:

  • 150g/4 tablespoons of baked beans
  • 150g/4 tablespoons of beans (kidney beans/butterbeans/black eyed beans
  • 150g/4 tablespoons of pulses (lentils/chickpeas)
  • 100g/4 tablespoons of soya/tofu, vegetable based meat alternative
  • 1 tablespoon/handful of nuts or peanut butter

Hungry to add some protein to your diet yet? Start taking your strength and vitality into your own hands!

Please note that before making any changes to your diet or supplement routine, you should always consult your doctor/nutritionist/pharmacist first.

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