As you grow older, you need plenty of high-quality protein in your diet to keep your muscles and bones strong. It’s as simple as that.
Today, we’ll look at the clear, science-backed benefits of eating more beef and other animal protein as you age well into your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond.
Plus, for our budget-conscious readers, I’ll also provide a sound strategy for including beef on your shopping list, without draining your life savings.
Standing USDA recommendations on their head
When it comes to their stance on beef, the U.S. government has been flip-flopping for years.
After decades of advice from the USDA Food Pyramid to avoid beef, butter, eggs, and fats, the government finally saw the light and paid attention to the evidence. They thankfully decided to change their tune a few years ago. But unfortunately, they just couldn’t commit to going all in when it came to Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).
Dr. Marc Micozzi addresses this important dietary misstep in his Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age,” stating bluntly that if you follow the government’s puny RDA for protein, “you’ll fall woefully short.”
His reasoning is simple. For instance, he says, “Beef provides essential fats, B vitamins, and bioavailable minerals, as well as protein — which most people don’t get enough of, especially as you get older.”
But somehow, the USDA seems to think you need less protein as you age. According to their recommendations, a man of 19 should eat 6.5 ounces of protein daily, but after age 50 he should be cutting back on protein — to only 5.5 ounces daily!
To Dr. Micozzi, this upside-down rationale is just pure madness.
“This measly ‘recommended’ amount of meat,” he says, “won’t preserve muscle mass, particularly for older men who want to maintain their muscles and lean body mass as they age. The study didn’t look at women, although as the same species, it should make sense for them too.”
A reliable predictor of longevity
Dr. Micozzi notes that the USDA’s recommendations are based on the amount of daily protein needed to prevent outright deficiency, which isn’t enough to maintain the ideal muscle mass needed to stay strong and vibrant as you age.
In fact, he explains that muscle mass is a reliable predictor of longevity. He cites a major study from 2013 that concluded: “If you want to maintain muscle mass as you age, you need to eat more meat — a whole lot more — than the government recommends.”
That’s why Dr. Micozzi says that a juicy, 6-ounce steak is just the right amount of protein to maintain muscle health in men — in a single meal, that is. Not for the entire day.
The right amount of nutrients, at the right price
Obviously, eating several high quality cuts of meat every day can run your food budget sky high. So Dr. Micozzi offers this recommendation: “Save the filet mignon for special occasions and choose bottom round, shoulder, or tri-tip cuts instead. You’ll get the same nutrition at a lower cost.
“These cuts can also be marinated in the same healthy spices, vinegars, and olive oil that add flavors to salads and other foods.”
Dr. Micozzi also recommends organic beef. And grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3 fatty acids with lower amounts of unhealthy fats than conventional beef. And he adds, “It also has more cancer-fighting antioxidants than conventional beef. So it’s worth the extra splurge for this healthier meat.”
Of course, if you happen to avoid beef for whatever reason, dairy products provide a good back up option for protein, as long as you choose whole, full-fat varieties of milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. “Skim” products contain more sugar and less healthy fat — so avoid them at all costs.
Wild salmon is another excellent alternative, delivering plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. Whey protein is also an easy, high-quality protein booster.
And keep in mind that all this protein (which increases acidity in the body) needs to be balanced with alkaline foods such as fruits and vegetables. And be sure to include spinach, kale, and other leafy greens on your grocery list for nutritious sources of alkaline and calcium.
For additional tips on developing or maintaining strong muscles and bones as you age — as well as other lifestyle tips for living a long, healthy, happy life — refer to Dr. Micozzi’s Insider’s Ultimate Guide to Outsmarting “Old Age.” Click here to find out more about this innovative learning protocol, or to enroll today.