While quality protein may be a difficult option for the elderly due to the cost and availability, it is important that protein is included in the diet for many reasons, including these:
Protein helps develop muscles and bones. The loss of muscle and bone density can cause osteoporosis and sarcopenia that can result in morbidity. Protein and diet are crucial for developing bone and muscle and increasing the amount of protein in the diet can help maintain muscle and bone mass in the elderly.
Protein affects bone density. Dairy products and eggs are great sources of protein. For the elderly and diet conscious, there is less cholesterol in eggs. Each egg has about 6 grams of protein in it and there is about 8 grams of protein in a cup of low-fat milk. Calcium in milk can help increase bone density and helped to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Protein helps prevent loss of muscle mass. Protein from meat and other sources can help reduce the loss of muscle mass. Walking and other movements are affected by muscle mass, so keeping muscles healthy by eating more protein can help keep an elderly person active. Increased muscle mass can help keep an elderly person protected from deterioration of the musculoskeletal system.
Proteins help build enzymes. From genes and cells, protein is the central structural component of our bodies. Enzymes are made from proteins. They regulate our biological functions, including carrying waste through the body.
Protein may slow down the aging process. The role of protein and other nutrients can slow down the natural process of aging and reduce the effects of certain forms of diseases. Eating soy with low levels of isoflavone can be useful in reducing cardiovascular disease, cholesterol, obesity and diabetes.