- Women’s Health
- Healthy Living
- Health Conditions
- Nurse Barb
Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Boost® to discuss ways people over 50 can improve their nutrition with protein, calcium and high quality nutrients for active lifestyles.
As a women’s health care provider, I am always talking to women about optimizing their health by getting enough of the nutrients, calcium and protein their bodies’ need. Many are so busy living their lives that healthy nutrition is often overlooked, and yet a healthy body starts with plenty of sleep, good nutrition and a balance between work and play.
Our Bodies and Muscles Need Protein
Many women are surprised to learn that their bodies’ need for protein may increase as they age. That’s right! After age 30, everyone, yes everyone, starts to lose lean muscle mass. It’s estimated that people lose 3-5% of their muscle mass each decade. That means by age 50, a person may have lost 10% of their lean muscle mass. As people head toward their late 60’s and 70’s the muscle loss accelerates from a number of factors.
It’s much worse for people who are inactive, and less of an issue for people who stay active. While resistance training and more strenuous activities will help preserve and increase muscle mass, any exercise, from swimming and cycling to attending a dance class and walking will help. Weight training, yoga, Pilates and resistance training are also key to keeping lean muscle mass.
Here’s a few secrets:
Enjoying Life to Its Fullest
Virtually everyone I talk to wants to live their lives to the fullest, especially as they pass those milestone birthdays after 50. Many people are seeing friends or family who are not able to do the things they enjoy and they then become even more determined not to let that happen. The people I talk to have no intention of slowing down, in fact, they are often more active and planning more fun activities than ever before. People know that being healthy is the only way they’ll be able to enjoy the things that have meaning for them.
What About Nutrition?
One concern that I hear all the time, is that our busy lives make it difficult to get the recommended 5-7 servings of vegetables and fruits each day, plus adequate calcium for healthy bones and 3 servings of protein, and do all of this without gaining weight. Oh yes, and make time to shop for healthy foods and cook. If it seems overwhelming and like too much to even contemplate, let alone do every day, you’re not alone, because I hear this from patients every day, who ask for tips and advice.
A High Protein Nutritional Drink
As a nurse practitioner, I have been recommending Boost® to my family, friends and patients for years. I think a lot of people look at Boost and think of it as something that’s reserved only for people who have health issues or who are recovering from an illness. The truth is, Boost is a healthy nutritional option for many people at various ages and stages of life for many reasons. I drink it myself, because I like the taste, and with Boost® High Protein drink, I know I’m getting 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including 35% of my daily requirement for Calcium plus 20 grams of protein. (link to client’s choice of websites)
How much protein do you need every day? This is a good question, because unlike many other nutrients that your body can store, we need to get protein every day. I used the protein calculator on the Boost.com website (link here: https://www.boost.com/protein-calculator ) to calculate my daily need for protein. At my height and weight, for my activity level, I need about 80 grams of protein a day.
This might be my typical protein intake for a day:
1 large egg: 6 grams of protein
1 ounce of cheese: 7 grams
1 cup of yogurt : 10 grams
¼ cup of almonds: 7 grams
3 ounces of fish: 17 grams
Grand total: 47 grams
Gosh, even if I have an extra egg, and more cheese, I’m not even close. And, like most of my patients, weight gain from eating too many calories is a concern. That’s why having a convenient, tasty, high protein nutritional option, like Boost can make all the difference when looking for ways to increase protein.
What Works for Me
I like the taste of Boost. I add a half a bottle of Boost’s High Protein Rich Chocolate to my morning coffee, and now I have my Boost Mocha! It tastes great and means I’m getting at least 10 grams of protein every morning. I take the rest of the bottle in my purse and usually finish it during my commute or have it with lunch.
I have patients who drink Boost before or after a work out. One told me that Boost tastes just like a milkshake and she/he (depending upon the photo) likes knowing she/he can get the protein and nutrition she/he needs without the heaviness of a big meal. Another friend who mountain bikes downs a Boost before long afternoon rides on the trails.
When it comes to enjoying a healthy, active lifestyle at any age, and especially after 50, having optimal nutrition, plenty of protein to maintain muscle mass and strength combined with regular exercise are the keys that will keep you moving in the right direction.
Disclosure: My mom’s doctor recommended Boost® for her nutrition, which is when I started drinking it too. I liked the taste and would pour Boost® into little cups, add a popsicle stick and make frozen treats for her. I’ve been recommending it for years to friends, family and anyone who need to improve their nutrition.
Though there are undoubtedly people who are born with “The Happy Gene” and are natural optimists, I’ve seen many people choose to be optimistic and not give in to their negative self-talk. Here’s what I use with my patients:
Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mache Seibel, the founder and creator of My Menopause Magazine that’s available on iTunes.
Dr. Seibel teaches at Harvard and is an expert in many areas of women’s health. He offered up a wealth of information about how we can stay healthy as we age.
#1 Eat well – it almost goes without saying, but we can’t say it enough. Eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains while avoiding packaged and pre-prepared foods is one of the best ways to stay healthy.
Years of research will tell you what you see with your friends and family who are healthy. By eating choosing to have at least ½ of your plate filled with vegetables and having less red meat, you can avoid heart disease and diabetes.
#2 Sleep – We often forget how important sleep is for our well being. We all know that less sleep means more irritability and a shorter fuse, but you may also be surprised to learn that more sleep means a lowered risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Studies on night shift workers have found higher rates of obesity.
Many of us find that being tired leads to more food cravings. (more…)
Sex Boosts Immunity
Good sexual health may mean better physical health. Having sex once or twice a week has been linked with higher levels of an antibody called immunoglobulin A or IgA, which can protect you from getting colds and other infections. Scientists at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., took samples of saliva, which contain IgA, from 112 college students who reported on the frequency of sex they had.
A Bacon cheeseburger with sweet potato fries sounds perfect for lunch or does it?
Should I skip the fries and have a salad instead? Really, I should skip all of it and have a salad, unless I want to overload on salt and fat. Since I don’t want to chain myself to the elliptical machine at the Y, I’ve been watching my portions and now am more conscious of another hidden risk, Salt!
I’ve never had back issues in my life, that is, until recently when I reached across the kitchen counter and suddenly, my lower back went into a painful spasm. I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary, really. Just reaching across the counter. I tried to walk it off and then went to do some stretches, but the pain only increased. “It must be the fallout from my recent road trip to Los Angeles,” I thought to myself as I dialed the chiropractor.
A recent study found that people with higher levels of HDL, what’s known as the beneficial or good cholesterol, also had a lower risk of having Alzheimers disease. HDL, high density lipoprotein, is the type of cholesterol that helps clear away the LDL cholesterol, known to cause narrowing of the arteries and clots. HDL can be increased by increasing exercise and from some medications such as Niacin.