Protein: More than Just a Source of Energy

Posted on June 12, 2019

Written By: Lisa Perry, RDN, Lisa Perry Nutrition

Protein has many roles in the body. Protein aids in growth and repair of tissues acts as a messenger in the form of hormones, aids in immune function, and helps support fluid balance and proper pH.
As we age into our senior years, our bodies need more protein to keep up our activities of daily living. Loss of muscle mass is common, as we age.
Many older adults don’t eat enough protein. While the Reference Dietary Intake for adults is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, healthy older adults may need 1.0-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Talk to your physician to see if you should change your protein intake.
Consider eating protein-rich foods, rather than using protein powders. Protein is found in animal sources, like fish, chicken, beef, and pork, and in plant sources, like beans and lentils. Other foods, like dairy, nut, and seeds, and vegetables contain smaller amounts of protein.
In addition, strength training exercises may help maintain muscle mass. Talk to your physician before beginning any new physical activities.