A new report has revealed that eating high quality protein foods at every meal can help prevent muscle loss in older people – and that eggs can provide the ideal food for older people due to their high nutrient content.
We all remember the ‘go to work on an egg’ slogan and it remains good advice, even when no longer going out to work.
“Too many people miss out on protein at breakfast and lunch,” says author Alison Smith, member of the British Dietetic Association’s specialist Nutrition Advisory Group for Older People. “Not only do eggs contain high quality protein, they also have a number of other important nutrients, as well as being an easy food for people to incorporate in meals throughout the day.”
The new paper, published in Network Health Dieticians, investigates the diets of older people and the effect on muscle strength. Sarcopenia – loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength – is estimated to affect up to 24 per cent of 50-70 year-olds and up to 50 per cent of people over 80.
Older people have an increasing need for protein, and the timing of protein intake may also be critical to maintaining muscle mass. Research suggests that intake of high biological protein, such as that found in eggs, should be distributed equally between three or more meals each day to benefit older people the most – and eating eggs for breakfast is an ideal way to achieve this.
The vitamin D in eggs also contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth, the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus in the body, to normal muscle function, and to the maintenance of normal immune system function.
As two medium eggs now contain 63% of the RDA (recommended daily amount) of vitamin D for an adult, they can be an important food source, especially for older people who may not spend as much time outside. Eggs also contain vitamins B2 and B12
In addition, eggs could help in the fight against obesity as emerging evidence suggests they can help you feel fuller for longer, which could be a natural way to aid people in staying a healthy weight as they approach older age.
The latest findings also suggest it is no longer necessary to set limits on the number of eggs people eat, provided they are consumed as part of a healthy diet that is not high in saturated fat.
All major UK heart and health advisory groups, including the British Heart Foundation, have lifted their previous limits on egg consumption.