Protein helps build and maintain muscles
While muscle growth and maintenance may be the most well-known benefit that protein can offer – a lot of people think this particular role may only be relevant to bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts. However, strong muscles are important for all age groups – from helping to ensure busy kids can stay active, right through to helping older generations stay mobile, fit and independent. Maintaining healthy muscles is also an important part of having a healthy body composition. Our bodies build muscles from amino acids – so when combined with exercise such as weight training, protein can help us to increase and maintain muscle mass.
Muscle maintenance is particularly important as you get older, with sarcopenia (a loss of muscle mass and function) being a common feature of ageing. The main effect of muscle loss is a reduction in muscle strength which can lead to a reduction in physical function, as well as impaired mobility and balance. Because of this, and because older bodies may be less efficient at using dietary protein, minimum protein requirements for people aged over 70 years are higher than they are for younger adults. Unfortunately, older populations don’t always get enough protein to maintain optimal health. Dairy is a convenient, high quality protein source that can help to ensure intakes are sufficient.
Protein helps with tissue and wound repair
Protein is present in every body tissue – and this includes your skin, so it makes sense that protein plays a role in wound repairs. Again, this is something relevant to all age groups, from being important in the repair of a graze on your little one’s knee, to healing cuts and wounds that become more common as we age and our skin becomes more fragile. In fact, an adequate protein intake in older people is associated with less skin fragility and better wound healing.
So, while some may only associate protein with muscles and body building, protein in fact, provides a wide range of benefits including helping to build muscles, repair tissues and supporting kids’ growth & development.