As we age, our muscle mass tends todecrease unless we work at keeping it.Less muscle translates to less strengthand less mobility, both of which mayincrease the risk of falls and fractures.
That’s why it’s important to preserve,even rebuild, what we can to stay strong.
Maintaining muscle mass largelycomes down to being active andeating protein.
“When we don’t eat enough dietaryprotein, there can be muscle breakdownand muscle loss. This can lead todecreased strength, which can causemobility problems, make us frailer,and can reduce independence,” saysJennifer Sundberg, a registered dietitianfor Alberta Health Services in Red Deer.
“We need to maintain enough dietaryprotein to prevent further muscle loss.
Protein and dining companions
help maintain muscle mass
WRITTEN BY COLLEEN SETO
This means eating high-protein foods
at every meal.”
Eating balanced meals with enough
protein can be a challenge for anyone,
but it can be particularly tricky among
A growing number of older adultsadmitted to hospital are malnourished,which complicates their treatment andcare. Eating balanced meals with enoughprotein and calories is one way tomaintain health.
“Losing weight without wantingto could be a sign of malnutrition,”Sundberg says. Other signs ofmalnutrition include poor or reducedappetite leading to weight loss andmuscle and fat loss. People who aremalnourished are at higher risk ofbecoming sick, falling, and losing theirindependence because they can’t dodaily activities such as getting dressed,bathing or going for walks on their own.
On the other hand, being slightlyoverweight can protect against somechronic diseases. “As we age, carrying alittle extra weight does not appear to beas harmful as when a person is younger,”Sundberg says. Of course, it can beunhealthy to be overweight or obese, butif you’re at risk for malnourishment, afew extra pounds can stave off illness.
meals with enough
protein can be a
challenge for anyone
It’s important to preserve, even rebuild, muscle mass to stay strong as we get older.