There are three fundamental categories of food: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. In the United States, the average person gets more fats or carbohydrates than they need. On the other hand, it is more difficult to get sufficient protein to sustain health, particularly among the elderly population.
Protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. It is also required for the production of many enzymes and hormones, and is a building block for our bones and skin. As an additional benefit, when our protein requirements are satisfied, we tend to feel full for longer periods of time and consequently tend to snack less.
Healthy sources of protein include fish, nuts, and plain yogurt. However, as we age and our appetites decline, we are often unable to eat enough of these healthy proteins to fulfill our protein requirements.
Fortunately, today there are a variety of protein powders that offer easy, healthy, and delicious ways to ensure that we meet our protein needs. Protein powders can be made from whey protein, soy protein, vegetable protein, rice protein, and even hemp protein. Organic vegetable protein powders are especially good for those with whey or soy allergies. On the other hand, vegetable powders contain higher amounts of heavy metals, since they come from the earth. Consequently, one has to be selective in choosing a healthy brand when using vegetable protein powder.
Whey protein, since it is derived from milk, is an excellent source of high-quality protein and does not have the risk of containing heavy metals. However, many people, especially among the elderly, have a reduced tolerance for milk, which makes whey protein unsuitable for them.
It is important to consume an adequate amount of protein each day, and for those who have trouble getting enough protein, an easily-dissolved powder can bridge the gap. Is important to note that the specific amount of protein each person needs is distinct, and dependent on their overall health. Therefore, a person considering protein supplementation should discuss the idea with their physician or dietitian. Just as failing to consume a sufficient amount of protein can lead to health problems, consuming too much protein can lead to kidney and liver damage.
One of the best things we can do for health is to consult our doctor or dietary specialist in order to help us construct an easy-to-follow plan for healthy eating. And protein powder may well be one of the factors that make this plan easier for us to implement successfully.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.