At a global scale, it is estimated that by 2050, 30% or more of the population worldwide will be over 60 years old. As our most senior generations expand in numbers, they are living longer and more active lives. They are increasing the demand for healthier products that include more protein and vitamins, as well as functional foods designed to meet the specific needs of the active, yet ageing body.
To support the wellbeing of elderly people, protein is particularly needed to contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass as well as in the normal maintenance of bones. A current study from The Boston Nutritional Status Survey about nutrition in the elderly, states that 50% of elderly people consume less than the recommended daily amount of protein. This results in the loss of muscle strength and functionality.
“Protein is particularly needed to contribute to the growth and maintenance of muscle mass as well as in the normal maintenance of bones, the strength of which naturally declines over time.”
The ageing body requires both more protein as well as specific vitamins and minerals due to the body’s insufficient use of nutrients and the generally declining intake of food. For elderly people, the following is also known to be true:
- Absorption of some nutrients, such as Vitamin B12, decreases over the years
- Ageing bodies are more ineffective at using protein
- Muscle mass and strength decline over time
As a result, many are on the lookout for new, innovative products that fulfill the naturally occurring nutritional needs of an ageing body. When searching for products with a fascinating and cost-efficient combination of ingredients, characteristics and flavours, it is important to keep in mind the nutritional requirements of an ageing body. Such requirements include:
- The importance of protein. An elderly person should consume about 25-30g of protein at every meal. Milk protein is a high-quality source, containing all the essential amino acids for the human body. The daily recommended intake for persons over 65 years: 15-20E% or 1.2-1.4 g/kg* (for a person weighing 70kg à 85-100g protein/daily).
- The importance of vitamins and minerals for an ageing body. N.B. Remember to allow for specific nutritional requirements when fortifying products with vitamins and minerals.
- The importance of fats. Fats, such as phospholipids naturally occurring in milk, serve a purpose in an ageing person’s nutrition.
- When creating a new recipe, keep in mind the importance of finding ways to ensure the intake of protein and energy, creating products that provide both benefits for an ageing body.
- Remember that taste is critical for the elderly as well. Adequate intake of protein is an essential element of an elderly person’s nutrition, and protein also tastes good.