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Good sources of Protein for Elderly

Eating different types of protein-rich foods ensures you consume other different nutrients and fiber. Don’t just eat pure protein, or you’ll soon become ill. To find the best sources of protein for the elderly look for meat, eggs or almonds. Oats are also a good source. To find more good sources of protein, check the rest of the article.

Protein is essential to help the body to heal from injuries and recover from surgery or illness. It also helps maintain a healthy vision and aids in balancing our hormones and digestive system.

Seniors usually cannot assimilate protein as easily as younger people so we always need more in our diet to ensure we have enough. If we don’t have enough protein, our bodies start to break down muscle mass and our bone strength reduces.

Best sources of Protein for the Elderly

All foodstuffs contain a mixture of nutrients and fiber in varying proportions. Furthermore, to be healthy you need to eat a balanced diet supplying all the necessary food values in the correct amounts.

RELATED: Nutritional requirements for the elderly

Many foods contain protein, as well as other nutrients. Whether you choose to consume a certain foodstuff depends on the

  • Other nutrients contained alongside the protein such as carbs, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Harmful components such as sugar, salt, and animal fats.
  • Your own personal preference.

Here is a list of good sources of protein for the elderly


Standard sized chicken eggs are probably one of the most nutritious foods there are. After all, it has everything it needs to produce a healthy baby chicken.

Not only does one egg contain 6g protein, but also 5g of healthy fats and a range of vitamins and minerals, some of which are hard to find in any other food. Actually, eggs contain a little bit of just about every nutrient we need. While we’re talking about healthy fats, eggs are high in cholesterol. In fact, more than half of our recommended daily intake.

However, this high cholesterol food doesn’t raise cholesterol in our blood so there’s no need to worry unduly.  One thing to be aware of is that if you eat too many, there is a good chance you’ll become constipated.


Almonds are another good source of protein. Just a handful contains about an eighth of our daily protein requirements.

We can eat them raw or toasted, ground, flaked or whole, and can be added to sweet and savory dishes. You can also buy almond flour, oil, butter, and milk.

Almonds are high in unsaturated fat but contain no cholesterol. They also contain high levels of vitamin E which is an antioxidant that helps prevent cholesterol from clogging the arteries. This is very important as we get older.

Chicken Breast

Chicken breast without the skin is an ideal protein source if you are attempting to lose weight or trying to increase muscle mass. But, it doesn’t only have protein. If you eat one large chicken breast you’ll receive your recommended daily intake of niacin which helps turn all the other foods you eat into energy as well as keeping your nervous and digestive systems healthy.

The most fat you’ll find on your luscious chicken breast is in the skin, so it’s recommended to peel off the skin before eating. The flesh itself is low in saturated fats and carbohydrates but is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids (good for the heart and brain). 

If you can find it, always go for the organically reared chicken as it has about 38% more omega-3 than non-organic. Also, intensively reared chicken tends to have water injected into the meat to plump it up and make it look more appetizing.


You probably wouldn’t consider that oats contain a lot of protein. But in fact, they do. Raw oats contain about 17% protein, 66% carbohydrate, 7% fat and 11% fiber. There is also less than 1% sugar in the form of sucrose. Of the carbohydrate, 85% is starch.

Although there is quite a large proportion of protein in oats, the carbs are its most important constituent along with fiber.

To summarize oats, they contain mostly starch and fiber but also contains more protein and fat than almost any other grain. Not only this but oats also contain many minerals and vitamins vital to our continued health.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese as a fresh cheese is better for us when compared to normal hard or soft aged cheeses.  It’s made from the curds of cows milk whether non-fat, low-fat or full-fat milk.

The amount of nutrients available in cottage cheese depends on which level of milk fat is used and how much salt is added. But generally, one cup (about 226g) of low-fat cottage cheese contains about 28g protein, 6g carbohydrate, and 2.3g fat. It also contains many minerals and vitamins.

As the fat and salt content varies, it’s worthwhile looking out for the low fat and low salt varieties. As a muscle builder, cottage cheese protein is possibly one of the best and ranks alongside eggs.


As you would expect milk is one of the best muscle-building foods available. After all, it’s designed to nourish newborn and young mammals everywhere. Milk contains protein, fats, and most of the vitamins and minerals we need for a strong healthy body.

For those who don’t want to use animal milk, there are popular varieties of plant-based milk substitutes, such as soy, almond, coconut, and oat. Usually, commercially available plant milk has added vitamins and minerals to fortify them as a true milk substitute.


Brocolli and some other vegetables are high in protein as well as other nutrients. One cup of broccoli (about 90g) provides about 2.6g protein as well as the essential amino acids, and other vitamins and minerals. It’s better to eat broccoli steamed rather than raw as it breaks down the cell structure and makes it easier for our bodies to use it.

Lean Beef

Beef is what many people imagine as a high protein food source. And they would be correct. Unfortunately, it’s also high in fat unless you choose a lean cut of meat. An average portion is about the size of your palm so if you choose a lean cut, you can increase the size of your portion and increase the protein.

Fish (all types)

Fish is another good source of protein and possibly better for seniors because it’s easier to digest than red meat. There are many different types so try various species for a completely different flavor. If you choose salmon or tuna, an average-sized portion will give you about 25g protein. Furthermore, fish doesn’t have to be fresh, it can be frozen or canned and are just as good, as are freshwater or salt-water varieties.


Quinoa is a grain that’s naturally gluten-free, very high in protein and contains all the nine essential amino acids. Not only is it very high in protein, but it also contains many vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and contains much more fiber than most other grains.

Whey protein supplements/Protein Drinks

Many bodybuilders and health-conscious people believe that using protein supplements and drinks will increase their muscle mass. Unfortunately, protein shakes can be very high in calories too, adding more inches to your waistline than your chest. It’s always far better to get your protein from a well-balanced diet.

However,  if you have a medical reason why you find it difficult to process protein, speak to your doctor and get professional advice on which supplements to use.


Not many foods contain as many nutrients and protein as lentils. It’s as if these were made especially for the elderly. Not only are they cheap if you’re on a budget, but they are also very nutrient-dense. Lentils contain a lot of iron, good for various blood disorders found in seniors. And, they’re good for diabetics too. Lentil soup is very easy to prepare and cheap to buy its raw materials.


First and foremost, peanuts aren’t nuts, they’re legumes like peas and beans.

Secondly, they are really easy to snack on, whether it’s while watching television or as a bedtime peanut butter sandwich.

Finally, they’re packed full of protein, about 7g per serving. You’ll find that this is more than three times the content of other high protein nuts such as almonds and walnuts.

One word of warning, however, choose unsalted peanut butter or peanuts in their shells as salted peanuts will increase your sodium intake too much.

What’s next?

To be healthy you need to eat a balanced diet supplying all the necessary food values in the correct amounts. I am sure you discovered good sources of protein for seniors. But you may have other questions also.

If you don’t have an appetite make sure to check how to improve it. If you have weak legs, please check how to build leg muscle in the elderly.

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