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The Importance of Protein As We Age

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Like most women, you probably don’t think about protein that often. After all, protein is that macho-nutrient only bodybuilders and professional athletes need, right? The truth is, protein is integral for our health, well-being, and positive fitness results, especially as we get older.

Let’s examine protein, what it is, how much you should get, and why.

Sarcopenia is a condition characterized by loss of muscle, strength, and overall functionality. Also known as age-related muscle loss, sarcopenia typically surfaces after the age of forty. The primary issue is, sarcopenia can decrease quality of life, force us to depend on others, and lead to health problems.

Protein is an essential nutrient because it prevents sarcopenia from occurring. The nutrient is necessary for our health and well-being because it provides us with amino acids - the building blocks of life.

Once ingested, we break down protein and absorb the amino acids into the bloodstream, contributing to the plasma amino acid pool. This internal storage of amino acids travels throughout the body, lending building blocks where needed.

Most notably, amino acids allow for protein turnover to occur optimally. This is a process where old and worn-out proteins get broken down for energy, and new ones take their place. Thanks to the process, our tissues remain fresh and strong.

Protein is also essential for good recovery after exercise and for producing hormones, enzymes, antibodies, neurotransmitters, and more.

Protein Timing: Should We Care About When We Consume It?

You’ve probably come across many recommendations. A good goal is to consume around 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For instance, if you weigh 60 kilograms, aim for 90 grams of protein daily.

Consuming less protein increases the risk of a deficiency and sarcopenia.

Protein Timing: Should We Care About When We Consume It?

Aside from making sure to get enough protein, you should also optimize the timing. Specifically, you should consume the majority of your daily protein in the morning and before lunch. Doing so is vital for a couple of reasons:

First, consuming a lot of protein early in the day provides your body with amino acids, which are quite welcome after nine or more hours of not eating anything. These amino acids flood your body, support your muscle and benefit you in many other ways. This is particularly important beyond the age of 40.

Second, having more protein early on is fantastic for supporting you for the rest of the day and ensuring that you have enough building blocks in your body. Our days can often get hectic, and we don’t always have the time to sit down for a proper meal. Sometimes, we have to skip a meal or grab something on the go. So, by having one or two big protein doses early on, you don’t have to worry about finding good protein sources later.

Fantastic protein options include:

#Dairy products

Protein powder, such as whey, casein, and vegan, is also a viable option. Depending on the type and brand, a single scoop can offer anywhere from 20 to 27 grams of protein. Take a look at my meal plan which is rich with protein.

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