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Get the Protein You Need at Every Age: Nutrition by Age

Nutrition by age can be tricky when you’re considering what to eat at every age — and that’s if you know exactly what nutrients you need in your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond! Protein has a lot of roles in the body — it helps build muscle and aids in cell regeneration and immune function — but how much do you really need? As you age, should you increase your protein intake? Should you try to limit it? Here’s everything you need to know about protein in your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond.

Nutrition by age:

It’s important to get the right nutrients at every stage of life. In your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond, you need protein for cell regeneration, tissue repair and to maintain muscle mass. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. For a sedentary person eating 2,000 calories per day, that translates to about 54 grams of protein per day. However, if you are active or have a physically demanding job, you may need more protein. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out how much protein you need each day.

How much protein do you need?

The amount of protein you need depends on your age, activity level, and muscle mass. In general, sedentary adults need about 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, while active adults need about 0.55 grams per pound. Athletes and bodybuilders may need even more. The best way to get the protein you need is through a healthy diet that includes a variety of protein-rich foods. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, tofu, nuts, and seeds. If you’re not getting enough protein from your diet, you may want to consider supplements.

The RDA numbers are a good starting point:

According to the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), the average person needs 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So, a 130-pound woman would need about 47 grams of protein a day. The RDA for protein increases with age and is based on your weight, activity level, and muscle mass. As you get older, your body becomes less efficient at using protein, so you need more of it to maintain your muscle mass. After age 30, you need about 0.55 grams per pound, or about 72 grams a day if you weigh 130 pounds. By age 50, you need about 0.65 grams per pound, or 86 grams a day. And after age 70, you need about 0.8 grams per pound, or 104 grams a day.

Your body is unique:

Just because the average person needs a certain amount of protein doesn’t mean that you do. Your body is unique, so your protein needs may be different. The best way to find out how much protein you need is to talk to a registered dietitian or nutritionist. They can help you create a personalized plan that meets your needs.

What types of protein should you eat?

Protein is a key component in diet that assists with our bodily growth and repair of cells. An RDA of protein is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, or about 54 grams per day for a 150-pound person. As we age, our protein needs change. Here’s how much protein you should eat at age 30, 40, 50, and beyond.

Summary of what you should eat based on your age group:

As we age, our bodies need different amounts of protein. In our 30s, we need about 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. This means that a 130-pound woman would need about 47 grams of protein a day. In our 40s, we need about 0.45 grams per pound, which comes out to about 58 grams a day for a 130-pound woman. In our 50s, we need 0.54 grams per pound, or 70 grams a day for a 130-pound woman. And once we hit 60, we need 0.64 grams per pound, or 83 grams of protein a day for a 130-pound woman.

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