Protein is a vital part of every diet as it fuels energy. It is an important macronutrient that every cell in the body requires. The need to maintain good health while boosting the body's natural defences should be the focus of our dietary habits.
A study conducted by the Ministry of Health highlights that average protein intake among Malaysians, at 57g, is lower than the recommended intake by the World Health Organisation which is 83g per day.
Protein deficiency can increase the risk of skin, hair and nail problems, bone fractures, loss of muscle and infection.
However, many times as our body ages the type of protein can sometimes cause bloating, indigestion or other discomforts due to development of intolerances.
Read more about the benefits of plant-based diet here.
Plant-based diets are popular among younger generations. Many older adults likely have children or grandchildren who have adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet. Their reasons for doing so may range from worries about their health to concerns about animal cruelty.
Some older adults are beginning to explore alternative diets of their own. A growing number of physicians, especially cardiologists, are recommending seniors adopt a lifestyle based on the Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet. Other older adults are finding their way to a plant-based diet, too.
Learn to transition to plant-based diet safely here!
A few benefits of a plant-based diet include:
- Improved telomere activity: Telomeres are the enzymes that rebuild the caps at the end of our DNA strands. While they are important for human life, they shorten with age. Research conducted by the University of California San Francisco showed that adopting a plant-based diet for three months can significantly increase the production of telomeres and slow the aging process.
- Boosts the immune system: When your diet includes animal products, you are likely to eat less fruits and vegetables. That combination puts you at higher risk for heart disease, while also preventing you from reaping the rewards fruits and vegetables can provide. The most common benefits of plant-based foods include decreased risk for cancer, a stronger immune system, healthier weight, more energy, and better sleep.
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Goh, E., Azam-Ali, S., McCullough, F. et al. The nutrition transition in Malaysia; key drivers and recommendations for improved health outcomes. BMC Nutr 6, 32 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40795-020-00348-5
NIK NUR IZZATI NIK MOHD FAKHRUDDIN; Which Aging Group Prone to Have Inadequate Nutrient Intake?: TUA Study http://www.ukm.my/jsm/pdf_files/SM-PDF-45-9-2016/12%20Nik%20Nur%20Izzati.pdf
Norazman CW, Adznam SN, Jamaluddin R. Malnutrition as Key Predictor of Physical Frailty among Malaysian Older Adults. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1713. Published 2020 Jun 8. doi:10.3390/nu12061713