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Plant-based Protein Just As Beneficial As Animal Protein For The Aging

plant-based protein animal protein aging diet health nutrition

The older you get the more protein you're going to need, so which will it be? Plant-based protein or animal protein?
Turns out it doesn't matter according to new research. Whether you're vegan or a meat eater, eating the correct amount of protein is what is what matters as you age.


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Age-related muscle strength decline is an important public health issue for older adults. Eating more protein has been associated with the maintenance of muscle mass in aging, yet its relation to muscle strength has remained unclear.

Does It Matter Where Your Protein Comes From?

According to the latest research, it doesn’t matter where you get your protein from –bean and nut protein is just as beneficial as meat protein when it comes to muscle health in aging.

Although humans typically don’t need as much protein after we stop growing, however, we do tend to require higher amounts of protein in later years. Does it matter if we eat plants of meat? No, not when it comes to muscle strength according to a recent study published in The Journals of Gerontology.

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Plant-based protein vs. Animal Protein

A study was conducted to determine the association of dietary protein (animal, and plant) intake, measured by a food frequency questionnaire, with a change in grip strength over 6 years in 1,746 men and women from the Framingham Offspring cohort study.

From that study, 82 percent of participants were getting the recommended daily allowance of protein. Their protein intake came from fast food and full-fat dairy, fish, red meat, chicken, low-fat milk, and legumes.

Researchers then linked the participants’ dietary intake to their muscle mass, muscle strength and bone density.

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Dietary Protein Linked To Muscle Mass In the Aging

Researchers found no links between dietary protein consumption and bone density. However, researchers did discover that dietary protein was linked to muscle mass and strength in aging, and was higher among people who consumed higher amounts of protein, compared to those who consumed the least.

Not surprisingly, the results did not change based on people’s dietary patterns. A person getting a large amount of protein from plant-based foods like legumes and nuts was benefiting just as much as a person getting it from animal protein.

“High protein diets do benefit most individuals,” said Mangano, who did the research while at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research. “It can be beneficial to maintaining muscle mass and strength – particularly as we age.”

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High Intakes Of Plant or Animal Protein Protective In The Aging

In the end, the study concluded that higher dietary intakes of plant and animal protein were protective against the loss of grip strength in adults aged 60 years and older. Increasing intake of protein from these sources may help maintain muscle strength and support prevention of mobility impairment in older adults.