Packing on the Protein as You Age

Friday, January 27, 2017

As we age, it’s important to stay on top of the changing health needs of our bodies to make sure they have what they need to stay strong and healthy year after year. One important nutrient for healthy aging is protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles, organs and tissues, fighting infection, healing wounds, and is an overall important source of energy. It’s safe to say that protein becomes even more important over time!

How much protein we need is based on our body weight. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for adults is 0.8g/kg body weight.  However, experts recommend that those 65 and older need closer to 1.0-1.2g/kg body weight.[1] As an example, someone aged 65 or over weighing 150 lbs (68 kg) would need roughly 68-81g of protein each day.  

Getting enough protein in your diet will help ensure you have protein reserves in case you become ill, keeping your immune system strong and improving wound healing.[2] But perhaps most importantly, for adults 55 and over, getting enough protein helps maintain and protect muscle mass, which tends to decline over time and is more difficult to build as we age.

To be sure you get enough protein, try to include a protein food at each meal and with some snacks.  For breakfast, have an egg or 2 tablespooons of nut butter on toast, add ¾ of a cup of Greek yogurt to canned fruit for snacks, fill your sandwich with tinned tuna at lunch and add ¾ of a cup of lentils to your pasta sauce at dinner.

For more ideas on how to add more protein to your diet, take a look at this article, All About Protein.

This article has been sponsored by BOOST, but all comments and opinions are my own.

Diana Steele
Registered Dietitian
Diana Steele is a Vancouver-based registered dietitian, published author and owner of Eating for Energy, a nutrition consulting company in Metro Vancouver. She has helped over 2,000 individuals, couples and families achieve their nutrition goals, and has conducted more than 500 corporate seminars. Diana holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and is a member of the College of Dietitians of B.C.


[1] Deer R and Volpi E. Protein Intake and Muscle Function in Older Adults. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 May 01.

[2] Stechmiller J. Understanding the Role of Nutrition and Wound Healing. Nutr Clin Pract 2010; 25; 61.