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The power of protein at all stages of life


The power of protein at all stages of life

There have been many fads in the realm of dietary habits, but what we do know for certain is that protein is essential for nutrition and health.

Spotlight on aging and protein needs
As people age, their nutritional needs change, and protein becomes even more crucial. Research suggests that older adults need more protein per kilogram of body weight than younger adults to maintain muscle mass, strength, and overall functionality. The loss of muscle mass with age can lead to reduced mobility, increased risk of falls, and a gradual decline in quality of life.

Incorporating high-quality protein sources, such as lean red meat, into the diets of older adults is one way to help mitigate these risks along with a living a healthy and active lifestyle. New Zealand beef and lamb is an excellent choice because it not only provides highquality protein but is also a nutritional powerhouse, containing important vitamins and minerals.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that plays a critical role in the human body. It supports numerous functions, including muscle growth, repair, and the maintenance of healthy skin, bones, and organs. As we age, the importance of protein intake becomes even more significant to preserve muscle mass and strength, as well as overall health. Among the various sources of protein, lean red meat, particularly New Zealand beef and lamb, stands out not only for its highquality protein but also for its rich array of nutrients. This article explores the role of protein in a balanced diet, with a focus on the benefits of incorporating New Zealand lean red meat into your dietary regimen.

The role of protein in a balanced diet
Protein is composed of amino acids, often referred to as the building blocks of life. The body requires these amino acids to perform a vast array of functions, from building tissues to creating enzymes and hormones. While the body can produce some amino acids, there are nine essential amino acids that must be obtained through diet.

A balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of protein can help ensure that these essential amino acids are readily available to the body. This is particularly important as we age because protein helps to combat the loss of muscle mass, a condition known as sarcopenia, and can support the immune system.

Nutritional benefits:

• High-quality Protein: Essential for muscle repair and growth.
• Iron: Crucial for forming haemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood.
• Zinc: Supports immune function and wound healing.
• Vitamin B12: Necessary for red blood cell formation and neurological function.

Protein by the numbers

How to incorporate lean red meat into a balanced diet

While the benefits of lean red meat are clear, it is important to consume it as part of a balanced diet. Here are some tips for incorporating New Zealand lean red meat into your meals:

Moderation is Key: If you eat lean red meat, aim to include it in your diet 3-4 times per week to balance its intake with other protein sources. The New Zealand Ministry of Health guidelines recommend 350-500 grams per week. This equates to approximately 100-150 grams of cooked lean red meat per serve, or about a quarter of your plate.

Pair with Vegetables: Complement lean red meat dishes with a variety of vegetables to enhance fibre intake and overall nutrient diversity. Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables.

Healthy Cooking Methods: Opt for grilling, baking, or slow-cooking methods to preserve nutrients.

Wholegrains: Serve lean red meat with wholegrains like brown rice, quinoa or starchy vegetables like kumara or potato to create a balanced meal. Aim to have quarter of your plate with these options.

Protein is indispensable in a balanced diet, especially as we age. New Zealand lean red meat, such as beef and lamb, offers a unique combination of highquality protein and essential nutrients, making it an excellent dietary choice for supporting strength, functionality, and health. By incorporating lean red meat into a varied diet, individuals can enjoy the benefits of this nutrient powerhouse while supporting their body’s needs through the aging process.