One of the responsibilities you probably take on as a family caregiver is making certain your older family member eats a healthy diet. That includes eating enough protein. However, a recent study suggests that a good diet doesn’t include protein from just any source. You may be aware that red meat isn’t as good for seniors as poultry, which is lower in fat. This new study shows that red meat may even shorten their life span.
About the Red Meat Study
The study involved data collected from around 54,000 people who had participated in either the Nurses’ Health Study or the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Using the data, the researchers looked at how much red meat the participants ate over an 8-year period.
The results of the study showed that those who ate more red meat were at a significantly higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, or neurodegenerative disease. The researchers also concluded that by replacing one serving of red meat per week with a serving of fish reduced the risk of death by 17 percent. In addition, they found:
- Eating just a half serving more of red meat per day increased death risk by 10 percent.
- Eating a half serving more of processed meat (salami, hotdogs, etc.) made the risk 13 percent higher.
Healthy Sources of Protein
Studies like the one above indicate that when older adults choose healthier sources of protein over red meat, they can improve their overall health. And, finding a healthy alternative isn’t as hard as you may think. There are lots of great options for healthy sources of protein, including these:
- Peanut Butter: A two-tablespoon serving of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein. And, it can be used in many more ways than in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter can be used to make delicious sauces for Asian dishes, added to smoothies, or stirred into a bowl of oatmeal.
- Fish: Fish contains plenty of protein, but very little saturated fat. In fact, it’s a good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Poultry: Chicken and turkey, especially without the skin, is an excellent source of protein. A 3-ounce serving of turkey contains 23 grams of protein. Try substituting ground turkey or ground chicken for ground beef in your older family member’s favorite recipes.
Elderly care providers can assist with adding more healthy protein to your aging relative’s diet. Elderly care providers can help the older adult to plan meals for the week that limit the amount of red meat and use healthier options instead. Elderly care providers can also cook for the senior, so they don’t have to risk injuring themselves in the kitchen.