Why do women over 50 need to consume more protein to lose weight, fight wrinkles, grow hair and nails, and increase muscle mass… And the next question is, how much protein should I have a day as a woman over 50?
One of the main reasons women over 50 have trouble losing weight is they are not consuming enough protein! Yes, you may not be eating enough… Protein is essential in our daily intake to keep our bodies moving and thriving and it is responsible for maintaining healthy hair, nails, skin and muscle mass, plus premature fine lines and wrinkles at bay! The recommended daily intake sits at roughly 0.8g per kilo of body weight. So, if you weigh 60kgs, that’s about 48g of protein needed every day to maintain healthy bodily function. However, this number is only indicative of a sedentary adult. So taking into account daily exercise, the amount of protein needed increases significantly!
But it’s hard to get enough, right? How much is enough? what foods contain protein? Which protein source is the best? What protein is best for vegans? We will get to that soon.
There is almost unanimous agreeance that protein has myriad proven benefits on our overall health, and while most of us are probably getting the bare minimum in our daily intake, our health could benefit from a slight boost, particularly if we are working out every single day.
Included among the proven benefits of protein is a stabilisation of hunger levels, with protein rich foods helping to keep us feeling satisfied and fuller for longer. Protein also assists with recovery and muscle development, helping us to build strength and tone in our bodies, and protein has also been shown to help boost our metabolism. Protein is what’s known as a high thermic food, meaning it requires more energy from our bodies to metabolise and digest. It takes around 30% of the calories in protein for the body to break it down and digest in the body. Meaning, if weight loss is your goal, consuming protein is going to aid and assist in losing weight. To give you an example, 100g of chicken @ 165 calories will take the body about 50 calories of energy to digest the chicken! Some studies have shown that we can burn as much as an extra 100 calories a day simply by adding more protein to our diets.
A strong and able body, an increase in metabolism and increased recovery time are all important and positive effects for our bodies, especially for women over 50. If you are looking to include additional sources of protein in your diet, these are some quick ways you can make sure you are getting enough.
While definitely not suitable for every meal, a protein shake once or twice a day will ensure you are getting a pure protein hit of at least 20g. Best of all, there is a protein powder to suit every diet type including whey protein (dairy), plant based protein and soy!
If the taste of protein turns you off, try adding a scoop of protein to a morning smoothie with unsweetened almond milk, blueberries and a ½ banana. Consuming this at breakfast time will help stave off hunger and cravings until lunch time, keeping you (and your tummy) satisfied and on track.
A SERVE OF PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL
Including a serve of protein with each meal is a great way to boost your intake. Studies show that including a serve of 20g – 30g of protein with each meal will help boost feelings of fullness and promote muscle mass retention. 3oz of cooked chicken breast constitutes roughly 26g of protein, so that combined with a serve of vegetables and you’re well on your way to hitting your daily nutrient intake.
To help you make healthy food choices, here is a list of protein rich foods and their rough protein portions.
PROTEIN AS A SNACK
Snacks can be a detriment to our weight loss goals as we usually crave high sugar, high carb foods to munch on between meals. Replacing these regular snack foods with protein rich treats will not only help us to feel full and satisfy the snack-itch but will also help contribute to our daily protein needs. Try scooping a tablespoon of peanut butter on celery or apple slices for a delicious and nutritious snack to keep you going until dinner time.
The daily protein intake needed for all of us is going to differ slightly, however using these tips as a starting point is a great way to navigate the oftentimes murky waters of protein intake. If you are living an extremely active lifestyle, your protein needs will be higher so it’s important to focus on incorporating some of the tips above. If you’re living a relatively sedentary lifestyle, aim to include roughly 0.8g a day for every kilo of body weight.
No matter your lifestyle, protein is needed to maintain a healthy body. Remember, if you are not losing weight on your exercise program, and you are unhappy with your progress, look at your protein intake and start experimenting with taking around 30g per meal, three times per day. Test and record your results and share your progress.