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Why older adults should eat real food



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/ Source: Kaiser Health News

Older adults should eat more protein-rich foods when they try to lose weight and deal with a chronic or acute disease or face hospitalization according to a growing consensus among researchers.

During these stressful periods, aging organs treat protein less effectively and need more of it to maintain muscle mass and strength, bone health and other essential physiological functions.

Even healthy seniors need more protein than when they were younger to preserve muscle mass, experts suggest. However, up to one-third of older adults do not eat enough due to decreased appetite, dental problems, reduced taste, swelling problems and limited financial resources. Combined with a tendency to become sedentary, they put at risk for exacerbated muscles, compromised mobility, slower recovery from disease disorders and loss of independence.

Effect on function. Recent research suggests that older adults who eat more protein are less likely to lose "function": the ability to dress, get out of bed, walk up stairs, and more. In a 201

8 study that followed more than 2,900 seniors over the age of 23, the researchers found that those who ate most protein were 30 percent less likely to become disabled than those who ate the least amount.

Although not essential (older adults who eat more protein may be healthier at first), "our work suggests that older adults who eat more protein have better results," said Paul Jacques, co-author of the study. and director of the nutrition epidemiology program at Tufts University's Jean Mayer USDA Human Research Center for Aging.

In another study published in 2017 and followed up by nearly 2,000 older adults over the age of six, people who consumed the smallest amount of protein were almost twice as likely to dislike walking or climbing steps as those who ate most after adjusting for health behavior, chronic conditions and other factors.


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