You have made it to your fifties and are making plans for your near future. You see yourself with your significant other enjoying life. The two of you might be fishing, walking on a beach, gardening, at a car race spectating, or tinkering in your workshop. Whatever your plans may be, there is one thing you will need to make any of these more enjoyable, and that is your good health. Without that, nothing seems right. Eating foods to strengthen bones protects us in the later years.
We don’t have control over everything that happens to us, but we can make our next year’s our best by taking hold of our health.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women fall short on protein intake, 2020-2025. Women 60 and over only eat about 4.5 ounces of protein foods which is short of the recommended 5-6 ounces each day.
What is protein?
Protein consists of amino acids that are building blocks for muscles, bones, and connective tissues. It serves as a significant player in all cell walls. Protein helps to sustain our structural integrity.
What does protein do for us?
Protein provides many functions. It performs as enzymes or hormones and transports nutrients throughout your bloodstream. Protein also helps with the pH balance of your blood.
A workload (as with resistance and weight-bearing exercise) is critical for the health of our bones. Still, without protein, muscles will atrophy (waste away), and bones can become brittle leading to osteoporosis.
Where do we get simple protein foods to strengthen bones?
Different types of protein are available from animals, plants, and powder supplements.
Animal protein consists of lamb, beef, chicken, pork, turkey, fish, seafood, and wild game tissue. Also, any foods made from these animals, such as eggs, milk, and cheese, contribute towards this valuable nutrient intake.
Protein from animals provides what is referred to as complete protein. This means that these proteins provide all nine essential amino acids, which work together to perform protein’s many functions as we use it.
Plants also pack in protein, even though soy is the only complete plant protein. Even though other plants do not contain all of the essential amino acids, it doesn’t take away the nutrient’s potency. We know that the amino acids we eat throughout the day can function to keep us healthy. They do not have to be eaten at the same meal as once thought.
Soy plant foods such as tofu, tempeh, or soy milk can enhance our eating patterns. If you don’t like soy, pea milk is another source of plant protein. Beans, lentils, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole grains also contribute filling protein. Veggies have around 2 grams per half-cup serving. If you like hummus and make your own, include the tahini paste, and you will get an extra dose. Tahini paste is made from naturally protein-rich sesame seeds.
Protein powder supplements work great in smoothies. Some powders can be added to hot foods (like cream soups and mashed potatoes) when food can’t contribute enough to meet your needs.
Including foods to strengthen bones using simple protein choices can work with you in your day-to-day life. Potent protein can be easy to include when you are aware of these simple strategies! If you eat the same protein sources frequently, branch out and try something new. Stay tuned as our next blog will cover protein powders!