Kim Hayes wrote in the AARP Healthy Living Blog that Beans and legumes, including all types of dried beans, split peas, and lentils, are considered good sources of protein.
Protein helps to keep our muscles strong, which is important for maintaining the balance and mobility needed to continue to live independently as we age. Yet, unlike with fruits and veggies, we may not focus on getting enough of this important nutrient. And recommendations on exactly how much protein older adults need vary.
The current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight a day for adults over 18 or about 2.3 ounces for a 180-pound adult. But research is showing that higher levels may be needed for adults age 65-plus.
In our older years, we are at risk of sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass, strength, and function. The essential amino acids in protein are key nutrients for muscle health, but older adults are less responsive to low doses of amino acid intake compared to younger people. A 2016 study from researchers at the departments of Food Science and Geriatrics at the University of Arkansas found that this lack of responsiveness can be overcome with higher levels of protein consumption. The study says that protein levels in the range of 30 to 35 percent of total caloric intake may prove beneficial, although the researchers acknowledge that level could be difficult to reach for many people. Read more