Muscle loss is a particular concern for older people, but eating enough protein can help.
Protein is a macro-nutrient that is said to keep you feeling full, but it can also help maintain muscle to keep you strong.
Rich dietary sources include chicken, yoghurt and eggs.
However some people can struggle to consume enough, particularly if you are older, making you more at risk of muscle loss.
A study published in May in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition suggested that many elderly people were not getting enough protein for them to build muscle.
Here are four things to consider when thinking about getting enough protein.
Eat protein between meals
“People tend to eat the most amount of protein towards the end of the day with their evening meal,” said Liam Mahoney, a nutritionist from Grenade (www.grenade.com).
“To achieve the best results, you should be evenly consuming your protein intake throughout the day.
“The recommended daily allowance of protein is 45g for women and 55g for men, this is the minimum you should be consuming per day.
“Ideally this should be split between breakfast, lunch, dinner and mid meal snacks.
“Protein consumption helps regulate your hunger hormones and keeps you fuller for longer, so by eating protein regularly throughout the day – particularly with breakfast – it can help with unnecessary snacking, contributing to a successful weight management regime.”
Consume the right amount of protein
“The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound,” explained Mahoney.
“However, the amount of protein your body needs each day is dependent on other factors including age, activity levels and muscle mass.
“As a starting point, calculate how much protein you should be eating daily, and also look at your carbohydrate and fat intake too to ensure you’re eating a balanced diet, and tailoring your meals and snacks to help you achieve your goals.”
Don’t just eat protein
“Too much of a good thing can seem like a cliché, but all things must be consumed in balance,” warned Mahoney.
“Protein is one of three macronutrients within the daily diet, all vitality important for health and wellbeing.
“This means that people who exclusively eat protein may be at risk of developing either acute or chronic health symptoms if they do not eat other food groups as part of their diet.
“For example, a lack of carbohydrates can lead to fatigue, light-headedness and low blood sugar.”
Not all proteins are equal
“Where many people go wrong with protein is that they assume all sources are the same, when in actual fact there are so many different types, varying drastically in their quality and content of amino acids,” explained Mahoney.
“For example, the most commonly known sources of protein are found in meat and fish.
“Meat offers a brilliant quality source of protein because it provides all nine essential amino acids, however many meats are also high in saturated fat, so it is a case of choosing the leanest options.
“Fish on the other hand is high in protein and low in saturated fat but especially high is Omega oils.
“You can also get good quality sources of protein from a plant based diet, lentils, quinoa and hemp seeds are all high in protein and suitable for those who do not eat meat, or fish.”
Additionally you can get it from good quality protein snacks, such as the Carb Killa range from Grenade.