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March 2024

The Benefits of Protein

Research continues to grow regarding protein needs and healthy aging.  Protein is an essential macronutrient and is vital to good health. It is involved in many functions in the body and is responsible for building tissues in the body, including muscle. Maintaining muscle mass is vital to healthy aging and maintaining independence. Let’s take a closer look…

Protein Basics

  • Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.  A protein that has all the essential amino acids is considered complete and is a high-quality protein.
  • Protein quality is important, especially as we age. It impacts protein digestion, absorption and metabolic function.
  • The Daily Dietary Guidelines for protein is 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men, in order to meet basic nutritional needs. However, your requirements may be different. Protein needs depend on your body weight and medical conditions, including kidney disease. As one ages, protein requirements may increase.
  • Combining adequate protein with exercise can help prevent muscle loss.
  • Have protein throughout the day. This may maximize the ability to build muscle.
  • If you are vegetarian, soy is considered a high quality protein.

Healthy adults 65+ recommendations are 1.0-1.2 grams per 2.2 pounds.  If you weigh 150 pounds, you would need 68-82 grams of protein daily. 

Protein Rich Foods
Focus on fish, poultry, lean meat, eggs, legumes and reduced fat dairy products.  Use the “Nutrition Facts” panel on packaged foods for protein content– be sure to check the portion size.

Nuts and nut butter are high in calories due to the higher fat content. Protein content listed as grams (g) and values are approximate.

Poultry   3 oz

26 g

Tuna/Sardines   3 oz

21 g

Almonds   1/4 c

8 g

Lean Beef   3 oz

23 g

Legumes    1/2 c

8 g

Nut Butter   2 T

4-8 g

Fish    3 oz

21 g

Greek Yogurt    1 c

22 g

Quinoa    1/2 c

4 g

Egg (1)

6 g

Yogurt   1 c

8-11 g

Egg Whites (2)

8 g

Benefits of Protein

  • Helps to preserve muscle mass and strength, which can improve overall mobility and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Supports the immune system: protects the body from infections and viruses.
  • Transports and stores nutrients and oxygen in the blood.
  • Building blocks of muscle, bones, skin, hair and nails.
  • Produces hormones and enzymes that regulate body function.
  • Protein can be a source of energy when needed.
  • It helps keep cells in the body healthy and creates new ones.


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