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Protein Drinks for Seniors: Boosting Nutrition in the Golden Years

by Mara Welty November 12, 2023 7 min read

 protein drinks for seniors

When most of us think about aging, we consider the outward effects first. Your hair is likely to gray, wrinkles will appear and age spots can speckle the body. But a lot of changes happen internally, too.

The cells in our body are constantly being replaced to repair tissue and keep our organs, ligaments and muscles working properly. As we grow older, however, cell replacement slows down. In some organs, cell renewal may stop completely, and they’ll begin to thin out over time. Additionally, your lean muscle mass can begin to significantly decrease, particularly if you’ve stopped exercising or have become less mobile.

That’s where protein comes in. Protein provides the building blocks of our body’s tissues. To that end, making sure you eat enough high quality protein as you age can help you maintain your overall health and vitality.

The Importance of Protein in Old Age

Older adults should be consuming protein just as much as growing children. In most cases, they require more. Overall, macronutrients like protein are essential to a happy life. Protein specifically is predominant throughout the body, with half of the body’s protein making up the muscles.

Accordingly, consuming protein helps to:

  • Maintain muscles, skin, hair, nails, bones, organs and more
  • Regulate hormone production throughout the body
  • Support oxygen transport via the bloodstream
  • Give the body energy, when carbs and fats are depleted

Because muscle mass can deplete over time, older adults may be more likely to experience frailty and unhealthy weight loss, disability, loss of independence and even death if they don’t consume sufficient protein.

While the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein for older adults is the same as for younger adults, recent research has discovered that older people actually require much moreprotein than their younger contemporaries.

The general RDA is 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. However, older people should eat around 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. (One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds). So, a 70-year-old man who weighs 150 pounds would need around 54 to 65 grams of protein per day to meet the RDA for older adults.

To calculate this more precisely:

  • First, convert the weight from pounds to kilograms: 150 pounds / 2.2 = 68.18 kilograms (approximately)
  • Then, multiply the weight in kilograms by the recommended protein intake range: Lower end: 68.18 kg x 1.0 grams/kg = 68.18 grams of protein per day. Higher end: 68.18 kg x 1.2 grams/kg = 81.82 grams of protein per day.

It's worth noting that individual dietary protein needs may vary based on activity level, health conditions and muscle mass, so it's a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider for personalized dietary recommendations.

To maintain muscle mass, healthcare providers also recommend regular workouts, such as endurance or resistance training exercises.

Protein deficiencies in seniors can lead to:

  • Protein and sugar cravings
  • Fatty liver
  • Hunger
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Loss of lean muscle mass
  • Brittle skin, hair and nails
  • Swollen and/or puffy skin
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Inability to heal injuries
  • Increased risk of bone fractures

The Benefits of Protein Shakes For Seniors

For seniors wondering how to increase protein intake in their diets, protein shakes, particularly those that are bolstered with additional nutrients, can offer several benefits and serve as an excellent option. The most obvious benefit, however, is how convenient of a protein source they are. Pre-made protein shakes and protein powders are readily available and easy to make. Simply screw off the top, scoop your powder and add it to your favorite liquid. This can include:

  • Milk
  • Oat milk
  • Soy milk
  • Almond milk
  • Fruit juice
  • Smoothie
  • Water
  • Tea
  • Coffee

Seniors can even add a protein supplement mix to their morning oatmeal, afternoon yogurt or evening bowl of soup. For a midday snack, consider combining a protein powder with a nut butter, too. Beyond convenience and accessibility, protein drinks also provide many health benefits for people who are aging. These include:

  • Muscle maintenance – As we age, muscle loss becomes a concern. Protein, when included in seniors’ daily diets, can help preserve and rebuild muscle mass.
  • Wound healing – Seniors may experience delayed wound healing. Fortunately, protein aids in tissue repair, accelerating the body's ability to mend wounds.
  • Bone health – Strong bones are essential to prevent fractures. Unfortunately, bone strength can diminish with age. Protein shakes, alongside calcium and vitamin D, can play a pivotal role in maintaining bone density and avoiding injuries that can impact mobility.
  • Weight management – Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging as metabolism slows with age. Protein-rich snacks, such as protein powder mixed with nut butter, can help control appetite, making it easier to manage weight or even lose a few pounds. The body also uses more energy to digest protein, compared to carbohydrates and fats. Effectively, seniors may burn more calories when adding protein shakes to their daily routine.
  • Nutrient absorption – High quality protein shakes and supplements are easily digestible and can aid in absorbing essential vitamins and minerals, ensuring seniors get the most from their meals. Specifically, look for a protein shake with a variety of nutrient complexes that support digestive, cognitive and immune function.
  • Hydration – Staying hydrated is crucial for people of all ages, but especially when the sense of thirst diminishes with age. Protein shakes, when mixed with hydrating liquids, provide both essential nutrients and fluids, keeping seniors well-hydrated. This drink, in turn, helps to support the protein digestion for weight management and lubricate their joints to support mobility.
  • Immune function – The immune system's efficiency declines with age. Protein supports immune function by aiding in the production of antibodies and immune system components.
  • Cognitive function – Proper nutrition, including protein, contributes to cognitive health. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in some protein sources, are particularly beneficial for brain function, too.

To further boost the nutritional value of a protein shake, consider an all-in-one protein powder that incorporates various nutritional complexes. Specifically, the INVIGOR8 organic superfoods powder contains a bevy of natural digestive, vitamin, and protein powder ingredients that support overall health. These include:

  • Whey protein – Whey protein comes from milk, and research has found that it's the best protein powder when it comes to building muscles and improving strength. It’s also quickly absorbable and influences various hormones, such as insulin, which plays a role in muscle growth. It also has a high leucine content, which is an essential amino acid that helps to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. With that said, we knew whey protein was the best choice of all the different types of protein powder when creating our signature formula.
  • Chicory root extract – Chicory root extract is a type of prebiotic-fiber complex that helps to support a healthy gut. Accordingly, chicory root extract can reduce inflammation within the body and improve mineral absorption. The root extract can also support regular bowel movements, support healthy blood sugar levels and support weight loss by decreasing hunger.
  • Green veggies – Greens like chlorella algae, alfalfa grass, spinach leaf, kale leaf and broccoli contain antioxidants, minerals and nutritious fiber. Accordingly, they can help your body fight off harmful invaders and improve your energy levels. It's also believed that a green veggie complex can help detoxify your body by making it more alkaline. In other words, less acidic. That said, even when using a green veggie protein shake as a meal replacement, it’s critical to still incorporate whole foods into your diet.
  • Fatty acids – Essential fatty acids are a type of healthy fat that can help support cognitive health and moods, eye health, heart health, metabolic health and bone and joint health. More specifically, omega-3 fatty acids may help to prevent blood clots and raise good cholesterol levels. Further, they may be able to increase your attention span, making it more easy to complete tasks throughout the day. All that said, fatty acids are found in flaxseed, chia seeds and coconut.
  • Digestive enzymes – Enzymes like amylase, lactase, neutral protease, lipase, bromelain and papain collectively help to support the digestion of carbohydrates, lactase, proteins and fats, as well as aid in nutrient absorption.
  • Bovine colostrum – When a cow gives birth, it secretes a milky fluid called bovine colostrum. While it may not sound appetizing, it can be incredibly beneficial to your health. Namely, the substance can support the function of the immune system, helping the body battle against germs that cause irregular bowel movements. It can also support gut health. Bovine colostrum is believed to promote the growth of intestinal cells, which can strengthen the intestinal walls and help reduce inflammation.
  • L-Theanine and Bacopa Monnieri – L-theanine and Bacopa Monnieri can support cognitive function, among other things. L-theanine, specifically, is believed to provide stress relief, increase focus, support immunity and maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Bacopa Monnieri, on the other hand, may help to improve focus and regulate moods.
  • Probiotics – Probiotics like Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium Bifidum can play a role in promoting digestive health. Unlike digestive enzymes, which primarily assist in breaking down food, probiotics support the balance of the gut microbiome, which is essential for digestion and nutrient absorption.

INVIGOR8: Protein Drinks For Seniors

A high quality protein drink is critical to seniors and older adults. This is because, as we age, our cells become less resilient and efficient, which can impact the strength of our muscles, hormones and energy levels.

Fortunately, INVIGOR8 has crafted an all-in-one Superfood Shake that incorporates each of the nutritional complexes mentioned above. This meal replacement shake contains 21 grams of protein per serving and comes in delicious flavors like Triple Chocolate Brownie, French Vanilla, Natural Strawberry and Himalayan Salted Caramel, making it oh-so-easy to increase your protein intake. You can couple our superfood shake with unflavored collagen peptides, another supplement that has been shown to help increase muscle mass in seniors. Reclaim your vitality today with the best protein drink on the market.

 

Sources:

  1. ACL. Nutritional Needs For Older Adults.
  2. Griswold. Symptoms of Protein Deficiency in Elderly Adults
  3. Healthline. Whey Protein 101: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide
  4. Healthline 5 Emerging Benefits and Uses of Chicory Root Fiber
  5. Healthline. Super Greens: Are Greens Powders Healthy?
  6. Healthline. 17 Science-Based Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  7. Healthline. What You Should Know About L-Theanine
  8. National Library of Medicine: Collagen Peptide Supplementation

 

 

About the Author

 Mara Welty
Mara Welty

Mara Welty is a copywriter who specializes in health, wellness and CBD topics. With a background in journalism, she aims to deliver engaging, research-based content that builds trust and engages readers through informative storytelling.

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