Compared to both “low-fat” and “low-carb”, terms which are commonly used in the health industry, a low-protein diet is not only uncommon but something we will probably not consider. Simply because protein is important for the body. It ensures that everything in your body works optimally — protein creates enzymes, build and repair tissues, muscles, skin, bone, cartilage, etc.
However, as we age, the sources we get our protein from should change. The fact of the matter is that most moving creatures that end up on our plate is protein — animal protein which contains the amino acids we need.
Unfortunately, animal protein is also high in saturated fat and that can lead to heart disease. Seniors will also find it more difficult to digest meat because their gut function is more sluggish.
So how can seniors consume protein without all these hassle?
By switching to protein that’s derived from plants. There’s a common misconception that meat contains more protein than vegetables. In fact, the opposite holds true.
A cup of broccoli contains more protein than an equivalent serving of meat. This applies to many other vegetables too. Let’s not forget that the stamina of a camel, the strength of an elephant, and the beauty of a horse are all sustained on a vegetarian diet. If it’s good for them, it’s good for us.
Now, you may be asking what type of vegetable should you consume to get that proper serving?
The first thing you need to know is that when you are getting your protein from plants, you need a wide variety to get all the different types of proteins your body requires.
Nuts are rich in protein, monounsaturated fat, calcium, magnesium, fiber, iron, zinc, selenium and even omega-3 fatty acids. What you need is a good mix of nuts. Here are some excellent nuts that you can consume: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios and pine nuts. As long as you’re eating these, you will have a lot of protein, vitamins and nutrients in your diet.
Seeds are great for your health too. Sunflower, pumpkin, flax and sesame seeds are rich in protein and other vitamins.
Vegetables are excellent sources of protein. Here are a few good ones: Artichokes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, mushrooms, peas, spinach and many other vegetables are rich in phyto-nutrients that will help to ward off diseases.
If you dislike the taste of some vegetables, you can always juice them with some fruits so that the taste is masked. It’s much easier to gulp down a smoothie rather than chew on veggies you dislike.
At the end of the day, what really matters is that you get a wide variety of these nutritious foods in your diet. While meat is rich in protein, you are better off sticking to the foods mentioned as they contain less saturated-fat.