We all lose muscle mass as we age, and it’s not necessarily something that happens just to seniors. It actually begins in our mid-thirties and accelerates over the years. It’s very possible for seniors to increase muscle strength simply by making a few lifestyle changes. For instance, every senior should be doing some sort of weight training regardless of their age. What seniors eat and drink plays a big role as well. Here is a look as some of the best protein for drinks to help keep seniors strong.
First of all, lets clear up the confusion over milk allergies and lactose intolerance, because they are two different things.
Food intolerances do not involve the immune system. Rather, people who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase. It’s the lactase that breaks down lactose which is a sugar found in milk and dairy products. So a person with lactose intolerance is unable to digest these foods properly. The most common symptoms are nausea, cramps, gas, bloating and diarrhea. However, it is not life-threatening
Often people confuse a milk allergy with Lactose Intolerance, yet they are two completely different things. An allergy is caused when the immune system overreacts to a specific food protein. When you eat or drink the food protein an allergic reaction can be triggered. Symptoms can vary greatly and might include mild rashes, itching, and swelling to trouble breathing and in extreme cases a loss of consciousness. In some cases, it can be life-threatening.
WHY IS PROTEIN IMPORTANT FOR SENIORS?
Protein is important for everyone, but even more so for seniors. Proteins are the building-blocks that essentially help the functioning of the entire body.
Protein is used for building and repairing tissue including muscles, tendons, skin, and organs and also to make hormones and enzymes. Protein can help seniors to stay at a healthy weight and with the absorption of key nutrients. More importantly, protein also contributes to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, enhancing concentration, and higher energy levels.
Protein also helps stabilize sugar levels. For instance, the act of eating a simple carbohydrate like a chocolate bar or having an ice cream cone can cause a rush of sugar into the bloodstream. But if one were to have half a cup of cottage cheese first, it would stabilize the sugar levels and prevent a sugar rush.
This is something I would often do when I was in the midst of my career as an endurance athlete. If I wanted to have a sweet treat once in a while, I always made sure to counter-balance the sugar with some sort of protein.
There have been studies that have shown that eating a diet with sufficient protein can reduce the chance of a stroke. Seniors who ensure they always have plenty of protein will often have better bone mass as they age. This, in turn, lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. On the other hand, diets deficient in protein can cause muscle loss, risk the chance of infections, and impair the immune system.
It’s true that everyone needs protein to prevent muscle loss, but around 50 years of age seniors begin to lose muscle mass more quickly( this is known as sarcopenia) and the need for sufficient protein becomes more pronounced. In fact, seniors require more protein than younger people.
So what are some of the best and more enjoyable ways to insure enough protein intake?
ADD PROTEIN POWDER TO DRINKS
Protein intake can be increased by eating the right foods. For instance, there are healthy meats like chicken breasts or many types of fish. A variety of nuts are excellent as well. These might include almonds, pistachios, and cashews. Beans and cottage cheese are excellent as well.
Formulating a diet with sufficient protein is a great start, but adding a protein drink as a between-meal snack will go a long way to ensuring there is enough protein intake on those days when protein derived from other foods is lacking.
If a senior is not lactose intolerant and does not have a milk allergy, the best base for a protein drink is skim milk. This is especially true if a senior has a weight problem. One cup of skim milk has no fat and nine grams of protein so skim milk is an excellent base for a protein drink.
Adding a quality protein powder to skim milk can really ramp up the protein intake. It should be noted, however, that all protein powders are not created equal.
Also, for those seniors who simply can’t drink milk because of an allergy or lactose intolerance, almond milk is an excellent substitute. It is also low in fat but does not have as much protein as skim milk, but that can be compensated for by adding a bit more protein powder.
BEST PROTEIN POWDER CHOICES FOR SENIORS
Whey protein is one of the highest quality proteins and is ideal for seniors. Whey protein is extremely important for seniors struggling to rebuild muscle lost from inactivity that might be associated with illness or a long stay in the hospital.
Personally, I would include some form of resistance training into the muscle-building process as well.
A study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the impact of different forms of protein supplements on older adults. There is a growing population of seniors suffering from muscle loss and strength, which in turn impacts balance, gait and the ability to perform everyday tasks.
Protein in itself does not stop the loss of lean muscle loss caused by inactivity, but whey protein supplements helped rebuild muscles once the senior became active. This is where initiating a resistance-training program along with an excellent Whey protein supplement will work wonders for rebuilding muscle.
ABOUT WHEY PROTEIN
Studies were also done to compare Collagen protein and Whey protein and the impact on muscle loss during periods of inactivity and then recovery.
There are many companies that make excellent whey protein powders and these are some of them. If you are interested in knowing more, simply click on any one of them for more information on it. The flavor options are normally vanilla or chocolate, and I also listed one here that is unflavored.
Naked Whey is quite expensive, but is the cadillac of whey protein powders. It is the #1 underdatured 100% grass fed Whey Powder from California farms. The listed container is five pound bulk, GMO-Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Perservative Free and will provide 76 servings.
Whey protein is considered a very high-quality protein. It’s rich in all essential amino acids and is higher in leucine content, one of the essential amino acids the body cannot produce on its own and must be derived from food.
Collagen peptides are much lower in their leucine content and are low, or lack, essential amino acids, making Whey the better choice.
What the study determined was that Whey protein was the better choice for seniors who were inactive for a period, and then returned to normal muscle-building activity.
Seniors should take note of what body-builders have discovered when including Whey protein shakes a regular part of their diet. The results were noticeable with the shakes alone but were much better when combined with exercise.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Although seniors can gain lean tissue mass(muscle)without training and simply using a good Whey protein supplement, exercising in conjunction with the Whey protein shakes was even more effective.
It not only helps build lean muscle mass, but it also helps reduce blood pressure and overall fitness.
A protein supplement is best taken a couple of times a day for best results. As we age, muscles become less responsive to dietary protein. This means seniors need to consume a higher dosage of protein per serving in order to stimulate muscle growth.
The optimal amount recommended by researchers is 30 to 40 grams of protein per serving as opposed to the 10 grams per serving in some drinks. For instance, drinking a glass of skim milk as mentioned, is about 9 grams of protein.
Adding 25 or 30 grams of Whey protein powder would achieve the best overall results.
Seniors should be sure to check with their doctors before using protein shakes to inquire about any possible side effects that may be caused by medications they might be taking.
If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic feel free to make a comment at the bottom of this page.