After 30, we start losing muscle mass at 3 to 8% per decade. After 60, the rate of reduction in muscle mass increases further.
It results in loss of strength and various body functions, leading to disabilities in elders. Another reason for Sarcopenia is inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle, which increase the risks of falls and injury and, consequently, dependence on others.
This regular loss of muscle mass increases fat mass and weight gain simultaneously. Body composition starts changing, giving way to various chronic diseases.
It leads to decreased activity levels, bone density, increased joint stiffness, and conditions like Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, and Osteoporosis.
Our metabolism slows down as we age for various reasons, like lower calorie intake, less protein, a sedentary lifestyle, and poor sleep quality. Increased sugar intake and no exercise also cause the same. Slower metabolism again leads to fat buildup and weight gain, worsening old age problems.
Along with old age and a sedentary lifestyle, our nutrition is the third most important reason for slow metabolism. Our overall diet and the amount of protein we consume keep decreasing as we age. With reduced food intake, protein consumption also decreases. All these factors combined have a significant effect on our muscle mass.
Elderly Mother Refuses to Eat
In such cases, you can not force-feed them, leading to further complications like diarrhea or constipation or various such issues. It can even result in vomiting and nausea, weaken the immune system, or cause bacterial infections.
If the elders have decreased their calorie intake with an increase in age, it results in body fat loss, weight loss, and muscle loss. If they have reduced their food intake, it simply cannot increase as forcefully as it did when we were young. There are various reasons for elders to reduce food intake.
It can be due to changes in the digestive system, hormonal changes, disease, pain, sense of smell, taste, vision, and a decreased need for energy. It could also be due to emotional changes, like depression or the loss of a close relative. Changes in the digestive system can contribute to declining appetite.
Fortunately, resistance exercise and endurance training are very effective in reversing the effects of Sarcopenia in adults and improving their health. Regular resistance & endurance training is necessary to prevent muscle loss, and you cannot undermine the health benefits. These result in increased energy levels, and there are various other health & wellness benefits as well.
We must shift to a high-protein diet to correct the whole nutritional status. A healthy diet is a must for various protein sources, and recent studies suggest that older individuals’ protein requirement is higher than youngsters.
Proteins and Strength Training
We contacted several seniors to understand their viewpoints on their health & fitness, and they raised many questions on this topic. We will answer some of the common queries here.
What is the best diet for men over 50?
High-protein foods for the elderly are a must. The daily protein requirement for adults should include 1 to 1.3 gm of protein per kg of body weight, compared to youngsters’ requirements of 0.8 gm. Similarly, over 50 females should balance their best diet with a high-quality protein intake.
What is the best diet for seniors to lose weight?
A high-protein, low-calorie diet is best for seniors to lose weight, and they should have a calorie deficit but with increased protein consumption. The best nutritional supplements for the elderly will be those with low calories and high protein, meaning a diet with less fat and fewer carbs. In the long run, eating fewer processed carbohydrates and lean meats like fish, chicken, eggs, and yogurt will be helpful.
During old age, the craving for sugary products also increases. Due to its satiating properties, extra protein is more beneficial in curbing hunger and cravings for sugary foods.
What is the healthiest diet for seniors?
The healthiest way to follow the Mediterranean diet is to eat more fruits and vegetables, moderate protein, more fish, and less red meat. They have various unique combinations in their diet. Their diet generally has less protein, so they will need to add more protein to it. The best diet for men over 50 provides an adequate supply of macro and micronutrients while remaining low in calories.
What foods should you avoid after 50?
By this age, our metabolism starts decreasing. So, one must reduce processed food and drinks. Foods like cookies, chips, candies, etc., should be minimized. It will be even better to stop consuming these foods. These foods directly affect our heart and blood pressure; eliminating them is a step in the right direction.
What is the best protein drink for the elderly?
They need to eat a lot of protein to keep their muscle mass, if not build it. A smoothie made with whey protein or casein is a perfect example of a nutritional drink for seniors. Other drinks like Ensure or Boost have various nutrients, but their protein content is only 8 to 12 percent. You can add multiple fruits, like berries, to have some variety and provide natural sugar.
What is a good breakfast for seniors?
Keeping the protein needs of seniors in mind, they should have healthy, tailor-made options for breakfast. A good breakfast with a heavy dose of protein is vital, especially if they work in the morning. It helps repair and rejuvenate the muscles and keeps them sat until lunchtime. So it can be eggs, oatmeal with nuts, and multi-grain bread with peanut butter. You can have a fruit smoothie as well with a scoop of whey added to it. For a change, you can have a banana or homemade potato wedges on some days, too.
What are good snacks for the elderly?
Whichever snacks are low in sugar and saturated fats are good nutrition for the elderly. So, having potato chips is out of the question, and the best alternative is having fresh fruits, dry fruits, boiled vegetables, chicken or turkey slices, eggs, etc.
Are bananas good for seniors?
Bananas are generally good food for the elderly. Seniors can act as mood boosters besides giving energy, and they relieve anxiety and depression, too, two of the main problems seniors face frequently.
What is the best diet for a 65-year-old woman?
Eat a wide variety of foods from the five food groups:
- Plenty of colorful vegetables, legumes,/beans.
- Fruits of all seasons and types.
- Grain (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and high-fiber varieties.
- Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts, and seeds
- Milk, yogurt, cheese, or their alternatives mainly reduced fat.
These can all be very healthy snacks for the elderly as well.
What are the three foods to never eat?
Avoid sweetened beverages, added sugar, and saturated fat.
How do seniors maintain muscle mass?
How much protein per day is safe for seniors?
The average amount of protein that seniors should eat daily is 1 g per kg of body weight. So, an older adult weighing 65 kg should consume 65 gm of protein per day, spread out over all meals and snacks to avoid a large dose. The protein eaten should also gradually increase with age, from 1 to 1.5 grams daily. Increasing protein intake progressively as we age to maintain a healthy weight and bone health is critical.
How can an older woman lose belly fat?
Fighting belly fat is a lifelong battle for some. Matters worsen with problems like poor digestion, depression, low metabolism, less appetite, and decreased muscle strength. The biggest and boldest arsenal against it is only a calorie deficit and regular exercise at any age. The battle becomes even more fierce in old age, or most give up against it. You must increase your protein and decrease your sugar and saturated fats. The food should have more fruit, vegetables, and various grains.
How much protein does a 60-year-old woman need?
A 60-year-old woman needs to have 1 to 1.3 gm of protein for every kg of body weight and regularly do her strength training exercises.
Along with diet, strength & endurance exercises are equally important. On the one hand, we have a fit 80-year-old female weightlifter who is still breaking records; Ernestine Shepherd won her first weightlifting medal at 71. She started weightlifting when she was 56. On the other hand, we have women much younger who give up. Where is the need to give up and suffer old age?
How can I boost my metabolism after 50?
Stop muscle loss through resistance training. Increasing muscle mass at any age can boost metabolism as more muscle mass burns calories. So, strength training to increase muscle mass is helpful. You can also increase your metabolism by doing cardio regularly, like walking, running, and cycling. Increasing water intake, too, helps in boosting it. Various poses in yoga help as well. These are Surya Namaskar, Locust Pose, Boat Pose, Bow Pose, Shoulder Stand, and Bridge Pose.