Researchers seeking the elusive fountain of youth are shining the spotlight on protein.
Eating more protein may reduce seniors' risk of disability and help them remain independent longer, a new British study suggests.
Dietary protein slows the age-related loss of muscle mass, helping to preserve the ability to do everyday tasks, the researchers said.
Less likely to become disabled
"Our findings support current thinking about increasing the recommended daily intake of protein to maintain active and healthy ageing," said principal author Nuno Mendonca, of Newcastle University.
His team analysed data from more than 700 people in two UK cities who turned 85 in 2006. More than one-quarter (28%) had protein intakes below the recommended dietary allowance.
Over five years of follow-up, the participants who ate more protein at the study's start were less likely to become disabled than those who ate less protein, the study found.
The findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Older adults should eat about 1g of protein for every kg of body weight, Mendonca said in a journal news release.
That means someone weighing 72.5kg would require about 58g of protein a day. A 100g serving of chicken contains about 31g of protein, he said.
Good sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, lentils and other beans, nuts, tofu and quinoa.
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