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Summary: Learn how to easily meet your required daily protein needs for a woman over 50. What does it look like and which proteins are best nutrionally?
I want to chat with you about something that’s incredibly important, yet often overlooked – meeting our daily protein needs over 50. As we journey through our fabulous fifties and beyond, our bodies go through changes that aren’t just about celebrating more birthdays. These changes impact how we should nourish ourselves, especially when it comes to protein. You see, protein isn’t just the domain of bodybuilders or those in their sprightly twenties. For us, the vibrant women over 50, it’s a key player in maintaining our strength, vitality, and overall health. So, let’s dive into how we can easily and deliciously ensure we’re getting enough of this vital nutrient every day. Trust me, it’s simpler and more fun than you might think!
Learn how much protein a woman over 50 needs daily and see examples of what that looks like with different proteins. Explore how protein can aid in managing menopause symptoms! This article delves into the importance of including protein into your diet during menopause and beyond. Gain insights, make informed dietary adjustments, and feel empowered through your 50s and beyond.
Protein plays a vital role in the well-being of women over 50. It helps build and repair muscle, helps with weight management, reduces the risk of certain diseases, boosts immunity, and improves energy levels.
This article reveals the best high protein foods to eat after 50 and how many grams of protein per day for a 50 year old woman is optimal. Read on for simple tips.
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What is protein and what does it do?
Protein is the building block for everything including your skin, hormones and neurotransmitters. You need adequate dietary protein to help build and repair muscles and bones and to make hormones and enzymes. It can also be used as an energy source.
We know that protein is important if you want to build muscle mass but there is so much more to what protein does in the body. Your bones, ligaments, tendons, liver, brain, skin and fingernails are built from protein.
Do you need more protein as you get older?
- As you age and pass through menopause, protein intake becomes even more essential to the diet.
- When you lose muscle, not much good happens. Insulin and cortisol levels as well as blood sugar go up, and estrogen goes down.
Therefore we need to eat more protein to maintain and preferably build our muscle.
The more muscle mass you have the better you will age.
You will be stronger, and be able to fend off disease easier. When your muscles contract they release myokines which play a big part in restoring metobolic balance in the body.
Sarcopenia is the name given to the loss of muscle. When you lose muscle not much good happens. Insulin and cortisol levels as well as blood sugar go up, and estrogen goes down.
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How much protein do I need?
- The expert recommended dietary allowance of protein for women over 50 is 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight per day.
- A woman who is around 65 kg in weight would need to eat around 25 gms of good quality protein per meal.
To get the protein intake you need into your day it is a good idea to include good quality protein at every meal. Spreading your protein intake evenly over the course of your day had been found to improve muscle protein synthesis. Keeping it consistent has been shown to promote muscle repair and growth.
If you work out it is important to eat protein afterwards so you can capitalise on building muscle. You would also need to consider an overall higher protein intake to give your muscles the energy they need.
There are a couple of things to remember. If you find you need to increase your protein intake because after reading this article you’ve realised you’re not eating enough, then you need to reduce your carb and fat intake to compensate. That is if you don’t want to put on weight.
Secondly, there is such a thing as too much protein and the excess your body doesn’t need will be stored as fat. So do your best to decrease empty carbs and saturated fats and start on a higher protein diet and you’ll have the right environment for building muscle.
What are the best sources of protein for a woman over 50?
The best source of proteins that contain the essential amino acids we need are:
- Lean beef
- Skinless chicken breast
- Lean pork chop
- Extra-firm Tofu
- Brazil Nuts
- White Beans
- Navy Beans
- Large eggs
Beef, tuna and chicken have the highest combined concentration of amino acids which play an important role in muscle growth.
I know on this website I push for increasing your plant foods and that’s because they are packed with nutrients and as a bonus, some have reasonable levels of protein and fibre.
But, unless you are vegan or vegetarian there is a place for good quality lean animal protein. Animal protein will easily deliver the amino acids you need without adding in too many calories.
Another point I would like to make here is about sustainability and environmental issue.
We have seen a lot about the negative impact on the environment of cattle and dairy farming. So you may be opposed to including animal protein in your diet.
Perhaps choosing products that are sourced closer to home and are produced using environmental practices could be an acceptable option.
I like to think of my meals as plant-based with garnish or a side of protein-rich animal products.
One study of adults over 50 showed that eating dairy protein possible lowered the risk of hip fracture by 8%, while eating plant protein redulted in a possible 12% reduction.
Why is muscle mass so important to your health?
If you have good muscle strength, you age better. Inactive muscles waste away and initiate poor metabolism.
Sarcopenia is the name given to the loss of muscle. When you lose muscle not much good happens in your body. Insulin, cortisol levels and blood sugar go up, estrogen levels go down and there could be weight gain.
Unfortunately coupled with muscle wasting, many of us don’t get enough protein.
Protein is the macronutrient that will guard us against loss of muscle. It does this in a process called protein synthesis.
Maximizing Mental Health with Protein
As women age and transition through menopause, it’s not just their physical health that undergoes changes; cognitive function can also experience shifts. You may have noticed moments of forgetfulness or “brain fog,” which can be quite frustrating, especially during those tired moments.
Protein isn’t just about keeping your muscles strong; it might also play a role in supporting mental sharpness during this phase of life. Think of protein as a friendly ally for your brain. When you consume enough protein, you’re equipping your brain with the tools it needs to stay focused and alert.
Research suggests that the amino acids in protein can actually support the neurotransmitters in your brain. These neurotransmitters are like tiny couriers, delivering crucial messages that help with thinking, memory, and mood regulation.
During menopause, hormonal imbalances can sometimes affect these neurotransmitters. This is where protein steps in, offering support to help neurotransmitters function more efficiently. It’s like a boost of energy for your brain.
So, while we often hear about protein’s role in maintaining physical health, it’s worth being aware of its affect on cognitive health as well. When you enjoy a protein-rich meal, you’re not only nourishing your body; you’re also giving your brain a friendly nudge, helping it stay sharp.
Menopause and Protein: What You Need To Know?
In menopause, you lose estrogen and this is associated with loss of skeletal muscle mass.
There are two ways that you can help to promote and protect lean muscle mass; through the intake of high-quality protein in the diet or by stressing the muscles with strength or resistance training.
According to one study, it was found that eating a diet containing adequate dietary protein is associated with better physical performance among postmenopausal women 60 and over.
Remember all those crazy diets when we were younger. Well, they did us no favours.
You may have lost weight, but although some of that was definitely fat, there would also have been muscle loss.
And I can’t speak for you but I lost count of the diets I went on.
Once lost it is hard work to earn that muscle back, especially now you are coupling that battle with the loss of hormones that would support you in that particular battle.
So protein is vital, not only to help us build muscle but in many other integral functions in the body. The antibodies that give us our immunity and many of our hormones are made of protein.
But not all protein sources are created equal.
Understanding Amino Acids: The Building Blocks of Protein
Protein is made up of tiny building blocks known as amino acids, and these play an important role in optimizing your body’s functions. It’s important to note that not all proteins are equal when it comes to amino acid composition.
High-quality proteins, such as those found in meat, fish, dairy, and eggs, contain all nine essential amino acids in the right proportions. These amino acids are essential because your body can’t produce them on its own, so you must obtain them from the food you eat.
Whereas, individuals following vegetarian or vegan diets need to include a wide variety of protein-rich foods to ensure they get all the essential amino acids. Achieving this can often mean consuming more calories.
Each of the nine essential amino acids contributes to different functions in your body. They are the building blocks for muscle growth, immune system support, hormone production, and much more.
When you’re on a diet and cutting down your calorie intake, your body is likely to become hungry. When this happens, the body tends to hold onto fat and instead use muscle as an energy source. This is not good when muscle maintenance is crucial.
On the flip side, increasing your protein intake while reducing overall calorie consumption (generally empty carbs) can lead to improvements in body composition and metabolism. As a bonus, it can result in less weight regain after a period of weight loss.
Conclusion: Take Advantage Of Protein to Thrive in Your 50s and Beyond
In your journey through your 50s and beyond, the role of protein becomes increasingly significant. It’s not just about building muscle; it’s about fortifying your body for the years ahead.
Understanding how much protein you need, where to find it, and why it matters can empower you to make informed dietary choices. It’s not about following a fad but rather about investing in your long-term health and well-being.
Remember, protein isn’t just a vital nutrient; it’s your ally in maintaining muscle mass, managing weight, supporting your immune system, and even sharpening your mind. Whether you choose animal or plant sources, striking a balance that suits your lifestyle and values is key.
So, as you navigate the fascinating journey of aging gracefully, let protein be your steadfast companion. By embracing its benefits, you can not only thrive physically but also relish the joys of a vibrant and active life well into your golden years.
Stay curious, stay healthy, and keep exploring the wonderful world of nutrition. Your body will thank you for it!