Did You Know...?
Only 1 Brazil nut a day supplies you with your daily requirement for selenium! This essential trace mineral is necessary for protein synthesis and may help prevent DNA damage and boost immune function. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 55 micrograms...each Brazil nut has about 65 micrograms. But be careful not to overindulgence on these nuts...too much selenium can be harmful and the tolerable upper limit is 400 micrograms. An ounce of Brazil nuts (which is only 6-8 nuts) has about 545 micrograms.
How Diet and Activity Can Keep You Strong
I recently attended two seminars that brought home the importance of diet and activity for maintaining strong muscles and preserving our independence. This article is not just for seniors...did you know muscle mass starts to decline in our mid-20's?
Our lean muscle mass accounts for about 75% of our weight and is essential for survival. It is composed of our skeletal and smooth muscle, bone, tissue, collagen, vital organs, and skin. The functions of lean muscle include supporting your skeleton, muscle and connective tissue movement, brain and nervous system functioning, skin protection, proper organ function, and acting as a pool of protein for growth, skin integrity, immune function, healing and repair, and digestion.
You may have taken your lean muscle mass for granted up until now but you can see how preserving this critical component of our bodies helps us stay healthy, vital, and active. So what can you do to preserve lean muscle mass?
Since protein is the building block of our muscles, it's important to get enough protein in your daily diet. Aim for an amount of protein in grams that is equal to half your weight in pounds. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, your daily goal would be 70 grams of protein. And it looks like spreading your intake throughout the day maximizes protein synthesis in the body. So for the 70 grams example, that would mean shooting for about 23 grams at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Not too many people are used to eating that much protein at breakfast, so that might be the meal you have to work on to increase your intake. Try the Pineapple Mango Smoothie and Protein Power Oatmeal recipes to boost your morning protein intake. (They make good snacks, too!)
Here is a list of foods and their approximate protein content:
|Food||Grams of protein|
|1 cup chicken||43|
|1 cup turkey||41|
|1 cup canned soybeans||29|
|3 ounces roast beef or pork||26|
|3 ounces fish||25|
|1 cup nonfat cottage cheese||25|
|3 ounces ground beef, cooked||22|
|1 cup plain Greek style yogurt||22|
|4 ounces tempeh||21|
|3 egg whites||21|
|3 ounces ham||18|
|1 cup lentils||18|
|4 ounces firm tofu||18|
|1 cup soynuts||17|
|1 cup canned beans||15|
|1 cup Kashi GoLean cereal||13|
|1 Grande Starbucks Nonfat Cafe Latte||13|
|1 cup plain yogurt||12|
|1 cup egg substitute||12|
|1 cup cooked Barilla Plus Pasta||10|
|1 cup flavored yogurt||10|
|1 veggie patty||10|
|1 cup milk||8|
|8 ounces canned green peas||8|
|1/2 cup cooked edamame||8|
|1 cup soymilk||7|
|1 ounce Cheddar cheese||7|
|1 ounce nuts||7|
|1 large egg||7|
|1 slice Arnold Grains and More Double Protein Bread||7|
|1 cup oatmeal, bulgur, rice, or quinoa, cooked||6|
|1 tablespoon peanut butter||4|
To make things easier to remember, you can use this rule of thumb:
- One ounce of most animal proteins (meat, poultry, fish, egg) contains about 7 grams of protein. So 3-4 ounces gives you 21-28 grams of protein, just the right amount for most people at each meal.
- 1 cup of cow's milk or fortified soymilk also contains about 7 grams of protein.
Beside consuming enough protein, PA (physical activity) including strength training exercises helps preserve our muscles. Studies have shown that even seniors aged 65-85 can regain strength which allows more independence and reduces their risk of falling.
Aim for 8-10 strength training exercises twice a week that incorporates all major muscle groups: chest, shoulders, arms, back, legs, and abdomen. You can download a wonderful booklet on exercise and strength training at the National Institute of Aging website [PDF]. Don't let the name fool you...it is a great resource for any age!
If you would like help optimizing your diet to improve your health and longevity, please contact me for an appointment.
This delicious smoothie will be a hit with everyone in your family!
- 1-2 cups frozen mango
- 1 can (8 oz.) crushed pineapple packed in juice (undrained) OR 8 oz. frozen pineapple
- 1-1/2 cups (12 oz) plain Greek style yogurt
- 1/2 cup soymilk
- 1/2 cup pineapple or orange juice
- 1/2-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons 100% whey protein*
- maple syrup to taste, optional
Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Serves 4.
Protein Power Oatmeal
This oatmeal packs an extra punch of protein since its cooked with soymilk and protein powder is added after cooking.
1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2 tbsp milled flax
1 cup vanilla soymilk
2 tbsp dried fruit of your choice (or add 1/2 cup fresh fruit after cooking)
3 tbsp 100% whey protein*
2 tbsp chopped almonds or walnuts
Place the first 4 ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes more until done. Stir in 3 tbsp plain whey protein power and the chopped nuts. Add additional soymilk if desired. Serves 1
* NOTE: I like Beneprotein whey protein powder because it is unflavored and can be added to many foods without affecting the flavor. You can buy it online at www.NestleNutritionStore.com