- Adequate protein intake can prevent muscle loss in elderly
- People in their 50/60s should also eat fibre rich foods
- They should try to be physically active and exercise regularly
Protein is an essential mineral required for building muscle mass. It is a nutrient popular for weight loss, thanks to its appetite reducing and fullness promoting properties. Everyone from children in their growing age to older adults need protein, as it is the building block of human body which strengthens bones and builds muscle mass. People above 40 or 50 or those in their 60s also need protein to prevent loss of muscle. Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal says that since protein is publicised for its benefits on bone health, it is as important as calcium and Vitamin D for older adults.
How much protein is required for people in their 50s/60s?
Ask her about the amount of protein intake that is recommended for people above 50, 60 and she says, "55-60 gms of protein per day is the recommended intake of protein for 50, 60 plus. Protein helps in healing of tissues, a process which slows down in old age. Also, we have to keep in mind that, protein levels should not exceed these recommendations, as kidneys may not be able to perform optimally around that age. However, 55-60 gms of protein is recommended on daily basis to maintain muscle and bone health."
However, apart from protein, people above the age of 50 and 60 require other nutrients like Vitamin A, D, iron, calcium and fibre as well. Diet requirements change as you age and including the right kind of foods in your diet can help you have a healthy old age. " Fibre is key for good digestion and prevention of constipation. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre. Examples of iron-rich food includes eggs, bread, green vegetables, and breakfast cereals. Calcium-rich food is important to prevent osteoporosis. Soy, tofu, and green leafy vegetables like broccoli have a good amount of calcium. Other essential vitamins for old age are Vitamin A and D. Also, people above the age of 60 should cut down intake of salt in order to reduce risk of heart disease," recommends Nmami.
Lifestyle tips for the 50, 60 plus
1. Eat nutrient rich foods only. Every time you eat, consider it as a chance to nourish your body. Vitamins, minerals, fibre, protein are all important for people of this age group.
2. Try to maintain a healthy weight by being physically active and having a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Go for brisk walking every day, do yoga and also some strength training to maintain a healthy weight. These exercises can help maintain strength and promote cardiovascular health. They can reduce your stress levels and help you have a positive outlook towards life.
3. Keep yourself well hydrated. Make sure you drink sufficient water every day. It is also an effective way to maintain hydration levels. You can also eat more hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumber, banana, milk, strawberries, etc. Good hydration levels will improve your immunity at old age.
4.Quit on caffeine to keep away from harmful toxins.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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